Design & Technology


Design and Technology forms one of the core subjects here at 鶹. We prepare our students with the transferable skills needed to be successful, well-rounded members of society. We break down our curriculum to support our learners with the skills and knowledge they need to see the world beyond the classroom and become part of the exciting developments that exist within the world of work. In 2017 the CBI identified a perfect storm, with people entering the workplace lacking essential STEM skills, this was reaffirmed in 2021 as we entered a post pandemic UK. Knowing that we have a labour market lacking in these skills, and the potential to build a unique opportunity here at 鶹, we established ‘Design for all’ whereby all our students take a qualification in Product Design at GCSE. We are always expanding and looking to develop our incredible links with external institutions. In the last year alone, we have continued to develop working relationships with Highways England, Trend, HME and Birmingham City University; providing our pupils with real life experimental learning opportunities that go way beyond the classroom setting.


In Year 7, we introduce the world of Design and Technology, where pupils are invited to decipher real life problems and briefs and create exciting outcomes. Each project highlights specific skills and knowledge so that in each scheme, they gain new skills and knowledge.

Year 7 also have aspects of Design and Technology covered within the L4L thematic curriculum.

Year 7 L4L Themes:

  • iRobot

Textile Monster

Students use a variety of fabric mediums to make a monster which is sewn using a range of skills from hand stitch including applique to the use of a sewing machine.

They explore design ideation and development, material research, and importantly an understanding of basic health and safety. They also learn about how to design for a specific user and need.

Intro to CAD (Computer Aided Design)

In the growing technological world, students explore how CAD CAM is used both in the classroom and the design industry. Students get their first taste of software and accompanying machinery (laser cutters and 3D printers), and will hone their designing skills, their CAD skills and their modelling skills. į

We build upon the skills initially learnt in Year 7 and continue to develop and delve into the designing world. Pupils have the opportunity to learn new key knowledge principals and support this with exciting technical practical sessions.

Year 8 also have aspects of Design and Technology covered within the L4L thematic curriculum.

Year 8 L4L Themes:

  • Grand Designs

Pewter Jewellery Project

Students focus on Art Deco as a design movement and are tasked with designing a piece of jewellery cast from pewter. In this unit students are provided with an opportunity to use the brazing hearths and heating equipment capable of melting metals at 700 degrees Celsius.

Board Games

Students are introduced to the world of Graphics, where they are challenged to redesign traditional board games for a modern market. Predominantly focused on board design and development, including the packaging, counters and the rules, pupils get to try out product testing in this project too.

Bag for Life Project

Tasked with designing a sustainable textile bag, students will design and manufacture a portable bag for life, learning techniques from the world of textiles including sewing, hand stitching, applique and even heat pressing.

The last step in our KS3 curriculum, this year is about mastering the skills needed to be a successful DT student. We split the year into 2 projects; with opportunity to develop their own mini portfolio of work from research to concept ideas and manufacturing through to outcome and evaluations.

Year 9 continues to have aspects of Design and Technology covered within the L4L curriculum.

Year 9 continues to have aspects of Design and Technology within the L4L thematic curriculum, including the America theme.

Skills Passport

Students embark on a skills-based journey, honing a variety of workshop skills, learning theory along the way. The skills passport allows students to prepare for manufacturing stages of their GCSE, giving them exposure to electronics, soldering, using hand tools, CAM, CAD, materials testing and research tasks.

Mechanical Lamp

Students study mechanics and how mechanical joints can be manufactured. Using the iconic Anglepoise lamp as a starting point, students then develop their own lamp using LEDs to light the design. This project uses a variety of skills, including both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques, and asks students to use more complex research and development techniques.

Students are split into Graphic and Product Design groups and focus on different disciplines to support them throughout the two year course. All students start with a hands on “Introduction to” project, where they learn key skills and knowledge to produce a product for the home or for entertainment.

Intro to Graphics

Year 10 are introduced to Graphics, with a heavy focus on CAD design, paper and boards knowledge and sketching. With a big focus on careers options, how Graphics is used in our every day life and a physical prototype of nets, packaging and branding, students discover how to make a professional looking outcome whilst applying sophisticated methods of graphic visual design.

Intro to Product Design

Product Designers are challenged to focus on sustainability and are asked to create a product for the home. They are given constraints to work with and must manufacture the product using solely recycled materials. This challenge encourages our pupils to research, and use their creative skills to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional product.

Both introduction projects ask our pupils to test and evaluate their outcomes; these skills are enhanced as they continue their journeys throughout the GCSE.


Unit 5 – Materials, in depth Knowledge & Understanding

As part of the GCSE paper at the end of Year 11, students are first introduced to the fundamentals of Product Design where by they develop an understanding of the sources, origins, physical and working properties of wood, metals and plastics (Product Design) or paper and boards, plastics and timbers (Graphic Design). They also look into classifications and manufacturing methods, as well as their ecological and social footprint.

Students are then assessed in this knowledge to engage them in the paper element of the GCSE.

Developing CAD Skills

All Year 10 GCSE pupils study different software’s to support their digital design skills. Pupils are tasked with different activities to create possible solutions using design programmes such as Solidworks, Canva, the Adobe Suite and Sketch Up. This project was designed to help build confidence and talent when embarking on their coursework element in Year 11.

Mock NEA – Problem Solving

Following the GCSE specification students spend 35 hours research, designing, developing, making and evaluating a product of their choice within the context of design with problem solving at its core. The purpose of this is to give students the opportunity to experience the pressure of GCSE coursework, and also the quality and breath of work needed to be successful.

Exam Board – EDUQAS

NEA – Non-Examined Content

The exam board releases the new contexts in June for the assessment task for the NEA, students must complete this piece of coursework within 35 hours at school to be successful. This forms Component Two of the GCSE; The Design and Make Task.

Students are then led through different units of core knowledge and understanding, focusing on the following:

Unit 1 – Designing and Technology in our World

Students need a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding in order to make effective choices in relation to the selection of materials, components and systems. They consider emerging technologies, environmental issues and impacts on society. They consider the needs of future generations as well as their own and take a broad view of the impact of design and technology activities.

Unit 2 – Smart and Modern Materials

The design and manufacture of products depends upon material technology and the development and implementation of materials in products. Students need to be aware of developments in materials technology and how these impact on the design and use of products.

Unit 3 -Electronic systems and programmable components

Familiar products often include the use of electronic components. Students should be aware of the importance of electronic and programmable components to the product designer and end user and how such components are integrated into everyday products we use.

Unit 4 – Mechanical Components and Devices

Familiar products often include the use of mechanical components and devices. Students should be aware of the importance of mechanical components and devices to the product designer and end user and how such components are integrated into everyday products we use.

Unit 5 – Materials

This is revisited from Year 10 and looked at to form the In-Depth Knowledge technical principal for Component One: Design and Technology in the 21st Century.

Students need to have a broad understanding of the categorisation and properties of a range of materials. They should be aware of their source, use and application in products.

What can Design and Technology lead to?

Product Design

Graphic Design

Interior Design

Set/Theatre Design

Civil Engineering





Project Management

Product Development

Game Design


In Years 7-9, and in order to create a common form of assessment, written formal competencies are used throughout the different schemes in a similar style to L4L. Keeping this in line means students are able to identify their own progression with relative ease. Our KS3 statements come from the national curriculum for DT alongside a level of challenge brought in from GCSE.

The GCSE course is split into two components:

Component One: Design and Technology in the 21st Century. A 2-hour written exam on theory knowledge (Units 1-5) in the summer series of Year 11 – 50%

Component Two: The Design and Make Task. An NEA (Non-Examined Assessment) traditionally known as Coursework – 35 hours – 50%

In both Year 10 and 11, we use the exam board specification to help assess the pupils’ progress.


Creative Thinking

Lateral Thinking

Problem Solving

Project Management



Critical Research

Analytical Skills

Miss Sheffield

Head of Department

Miss Sheffield completed a BA (Hons) in Product Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2016, and trained to be a Design and Technology technician, before completing her PGCE in Design and Technology Secondary at Birmingham City in 2018. She has been fortunate enough to work in the Design Industry, including Kitchen Design, before pursuing a career in education. She takes on the role as Head of Design and Technology, after 2 years in the role of Head of Year. Design and Technology is a magical subject– the whole world is designed, developments and new technology are always being created and, with that, there is so much opportunity and things to discover!