The aim of our Design Technology curriculum is to engage students, educate them to design without limits and make sustainably. We intend to foster the understanding of consumerism and the impact that it has on people and communities. We also aim to impart the belief that design, and technological development will tackle the ever-changing demands and requirements of the world to create an ethical and inclusive planet. Finally, our curriculum aims to deliver skills and knowledge that enables creative contributions for tomorrow’s world.

Key Stage 3 (KS3) Design and technology enables students to actively be creative. It teaches them how to take risks and so become more resourceful and innovative and capable. Students develop a critical understanding of the impact of design and technology on daily life and the wider world.

The projects covered at KS3 provide and excellent grounding for students to develop and apply judgements of an aesthetic, economic, moral social and technical nature – in their own designing and when evaluating the work of others.

The KS3 curriculum covers four main areas, Technical Knowledge, Designing, Making and Evaluating. By completing a series of design projects, covering introductory knowledge initially in year 7, which over the key stage span resistant and compliant materials they will become confident in working with tools and equipment to produce prototypes and products. Coupled with building a repertoire of material and production process knowledge. The aim is to equip students with creative, technical and practical expertise needed to further purse at GCSE level.

Through planned gaging and pitching of SOW which increase in technical challenge students tackle more demanding concept, which are assessed against the knowledge step. Knowledge steps that have been derived from the AQA NEA assessment criteria. Furthermore, students are opened to the language and content of the AQA assessment criteria at KS3 so have a seamless continuation into KS4.

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology, including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making, and apply technical and practical expertise.

Key topics studied 

  • Core technical principles: – New and emerging technologies, Energy generation and storage, developments in new materials, systems approach to designing, mechanical devices and materials and their working properties.
  • Specialist technical principles: – Selection of materials or components, Forces and stress, Ecological and social footprint, Sources and origins, Using and working with materials, Stock forms, types and sizes, Scales of production, specialist techniques and processes and surface treatments and finishes.
  • Designing and making principles: – Including – Investigation, The work of others, communication of ideas, Prototype development, Tolerances and specialist tools and equipment.


Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Design and Technology specifications and all exam boards.

The exams and non-exam assessment will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Identify, investigate and outline design possibilities to address needs and wants.
  • AO2: Design and make prototypes that are fit for purpose.
  • AO3: Analyse and evaluate: design decisions and outcomes, including for prototypes made by themselves and others, wider issues in design and technology.
  • AO4: Demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of: technical principles, designing and making principles.

Students will complete a non-exam assessment (NEA) and an exam paper totalling 200 marks.

The NEA is a medium control unit of work which consists of a folio of work and practical product with six assessment criteria. The time allocation for the NEA is approximately 30-35 hours of lesson time and where 100 marks can be awarded.  The NEA is 50% of the GCSE grade. Students must have sufficient direct supervision for the written element to ensure that the work submitted can be confidently authenticated as their own. All practical work that is submitted for assessment must be completed under direct supervision.

The Exam is a 2-hour paper consisting of three sections. This takes place in the summer term during year 11, usually June.  Section A asks core technical principles questions worth 20 marks, which are a mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding. Section B questions are specialist technical principle questions worth 30 marks. Here there are several short answer questions and one extended response. Section C is about designing and making principles with a mixture of short answer and extended response questions. (50 marks)

Pathway through the subject 

Students will be assessed with a written examination of 2 hours, worth 100 marks and 50%

of the overall GCSE.

  • Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks): A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.
  • Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks): Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.
  • Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks): A mixture of short answer and extended response questions.

Additional information 

The ability to work in a team, to solve problems, to research, to analyse, – these are skills for almost every career, and they are skills you will be enhancing during the course.

R Singleton