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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 is 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. Alongside this, pupils work using CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture), from the First Form onwards, equipping them for the advancements of this technological age.  

Pupils will experiment with designing and manufacturing; they will not always succeed straightaway, they will fail and they will have problems. By learning to correct their failures and solve their problems they will become better and more rounded designers and manufacturers with a greater and wider knowledge of the subject.

Junior Curriculum and Third Form

The primary objective of the department is to stimulate interest, curiosity and enjoyment for all aspects of Design and Technology. The workshop facilities offer pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of the techniques and processes used when working with a wide variety of materials.

The work in the First and Second Forms is largely project based; requiring pupils to design and make a range of items from different materials using hand tools, machine tools, CAD and CAM in the form of laser cutting. This encourages pupils to think creatively and produce unique and imaginative ideas and also aids in developing competence in the practical area.

Work on these projects is supported by teaching design techniques and developing an understanding of the properties and manipulation of materials. An awareness of the environmental impact of the materials used and processes undertaken is taught. A great emphasis is also placed on personal and collective safety before pupils are allowed to work in the centre or use specific tools.

GCSE Design and Technology

Board: AQA

This subject allows candidates to specialise in the focus area of 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.

Examination: 40%
The two-hour paper will test the application of knowledge and understanding of materials, components, processes, techniques, technologies and the evaluation of commercial practices and products. Questions will largely address general aspects of product design, which cross all material areas, although some questions will allow subject-specific knowledge to be shown. This paper contains a design question so the ability to sketch quickly in 3D is essential. Theory for the examination is taught weekly throughout both years of the course.
Controlled Assessment: 60%
The controlled assessment consists of a client-based project. Candidates are required to submit a three-dimensional product or outcome and a concise design folder and the appropriate ICT evidence. Candidates will be given a design brief, set by the exam board, and have the freedom to use the type and variety of materials necessary to satisfy the brief, but need to show evidence of working in at least two materials, ranging from resistant materials such as wood, metal and plastics, to graphic product materials such as styrofoam,
paper and card.
Manufacturing counts for one-third of the marks for the controlled assessment. The remaining two-thirds will be made up from areas such as research, design development, investigation and issues such as industrial and commercial practices, and moral, social, cultural and environmental issues.

A Level Product Design

Board: AQA

The course in the first year will have centre assessed focused practical and design tasks as detailed below. Make: Desk light project The make focuses on industrial processes for manufacture and CAD/CAM Designing: Shelter design The design section will focus attention on ‘blue sky’ thinking an innovation when designing Investigation: Student self-selected product investigation This unit will help students to understand:

• Material selection;

• Manufacturing processes;

• Sustainability issues;

• Health and safety.

Alongside the practical sessions throughout the first year, staff will deliver the associated theory. This will give the students the knowledge they need to be internally assessed at the end of the year, leading into the second year of studies. There are no external examinations in the first year.

Upper Sixth

Paper 1: Technical principles 30% of A Level - 120 marks Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

Assessment on:

• Materials classifications, applications, testing and performance characteristics;

• Mixture of short answer and extended responses.

Paper 2: Designing and making principles 20% of A Level - 80 marks Written examination: 1.5 hours

Assessment on:

Section A: Six short questions on visual stimulus of product(s).

Section B: Commercial manufacture

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

50% of A Level - 100 marks

• Substantial design and make project;

• Digital design portfolio and photographic evidence.

Career opportunities

Many of our A Level students go on to study Product Design or Industrial Design at university. However, with skills in designing and manufacturing, problem solving and time-management, the options for further study are very broad. Combined with Sciences or Maths, Design and Technology gives a good foundation to study Engineering or Architecture; when studied with more creative subjects such as Art, students often follow a more graphics based path.

Mr Simon Kirk
Head of Department

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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