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Design Technology

"I believe that Design and Technology is as essential to education as the ability to read and do arithmetic...Design and Technology in schools gives children access to all of this and more in a stimulating and real context ."  James Dyson

At its core, Design and Technology is creative and imaginative, but it is also inspiring, rigorous and practical.  Students learn to design and make products that solve genuine, relevant problems within different contexts, whilst considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. To do this effectively, they will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on additional disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.

Part of the philosophy of the Design and Technology department is that the work produced, particularly in Key Stage 3, be fundamentally skills-based. This stems from the belief that, without a satisfactory breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding on which they can draw, pupils are not always able to make reasoned and justified decisions about designing with materials, or applying methods of construction.

It is vital that all pupils view the various areas of the subject as a whole and apply the same basic skills and understanding to each of the specialisms, whilst recognising the cross-curricular nature of the subject and applying knowledge and skills learnt in other subjects and areas. Alongside this, pupils work using CAD/CAM, from the First Form onwards, equipping them for the advancements of this technological age.


The Design and Technology department is staffed by two dynamic and highly-qualified full-time members of teaching staff and a part-time technician. Both full time staff teach all years from First Form to Upper Sixth.

Now Head of Department, I began my career gaining qualifications and experience as a designer silversmith and then went on to achieve a BEd(Hons) degree and later a research MA in Education. I have many years’ experience as a GCSE and A level examiner and moderator. In my other roles, I am an officer in the Royal Navy section of the CCF and I enjoy being a part of the music in the School whenever possible.  Outside School, I continue my love of music and sport, in particular fencing, where as an officer in the Royal Navy Reserve I fence for the Royal Navy and Combined Services teams and also hold a Guinness World Record in this sport. When I have any spare time left, I am told I enjoy restoring my old moneypit of a house.

Miss Clement-Walker very ably assists me in the department, showing inspiration and leadership qualities reflecting in a positive and encouraging environment at School.  Having studied Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough, including a work placement at Richard Rogers partnership, she continued to study for a PGCE and consequently an MSc in Education, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge, a passion for the subject and a desire to focus on the creativity within her teaching in the classroom and workshop environments. Miss Clement-Walker has gained much experience as a junior tutor, sports coach and out tutor at Beresford, the junior boarding house. She is now Senior Tutor to the Juniors. Her appointment at Sutton Valence allowed her to return to her home county, where she enjoys countryside walks and spending time with her family.    

We are aided by Mr Ball, our workshop technician, who holds a BA (Hons) degree in Furniture Design and Ceramic Art from the University College of Ripon and York St John. His experience and wealth of knowledge, experience and skill keeps the department running efficiently and in fine shape.

AQA GCSE Product Design

This subject allows candidates to specialise in the focus area of Product Design where they will analyse existing products, learn about a range of design techniques, materials, manufacturing processes, techniques and technologies, including mechanisms and structures, and be able to use them as appropriate in the design and make process.

Written Paper: 40% of total marks; 2 hours                      

Controlled-Assessment Project: 60% of total marks; 45 hours

Coursework consists of a client-based project that should address the industrial and commercial practices, and the moral, social, cultural and environmental issues, arising from their work.

This is a challenging and exciting course and one which requires a high degree of commitment in the design, practical and theory elements.

A level AQA Design and Technology: Product Design

Component 1: Design and Technology in the 21st Century

50% of A2; written examination - 3 hours

Testing knowledge and understanding of technical principles and designing and making principles, alongside the ability to analyse and evaluate design decisions and wider issues in design and technology.

Component 2 – Design and make task

50% of A2; coursework – approximately 80 hours

A sustained design and make task, based on a brief developed by the candidate, assessing the candidate’s ability to identify, investigate and outline design possibilities, design and make prototypes and analyse and evaluate design decisions and wider issues in design and technology.

“Designers should define their role broadly as agents of good in the world, and limit their work to 'legitimate' products: those that are needed, and those that can be made without damage to nature or -- through the unethical actions of manufacturers and investors -- damage to people.”

Phillipe Starck

Dan Keep
Head of Design Technology

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