Design Technology - Product Design

Product Design is part of the creative Design Technology department and supports students in developing their skills by inspiring and encouraging to explore their talents within design. The department frequently reviews their practice and develops lesson content to cater for the full enjoyment of every student. Within the department there are two teachers of Product Design, Construction and Engineering and two Hospitality and Catering teachers. Each of the staff members continuously encourage the creativity of the students and are passionate about their subject area.


Head of Design Technology: Mrs S Derwent

Assistant Head of Department: Miss E Holland


The product design section of the department comprises of one large workshop, one classroom with an electronics bench, work benches and desks for theory work and in addition there is a Technosnake in the break out area that sits 20 desktop computers. Each room is equipped with interactive whiteboards and visualisers.  The department is well resourced with a wide range of specialist materials such as flexi ply and polymorph. The resources include two laser cutters, heat press, lathe, mortiser, pillar drills, two vacuum formers, brazing hearth, welder, band saws, pewter caster, hot wire, digital cameras and laptop trolleys.


Key Stage 3

In Key stage 3, students are on rotation with food technology and Product Design so half way through the year they swap subjects within the Design Technology department.

In Year 7, students go through the full design process and design and make their own Tea Light Holder. They will use skills such as measuring, marking, drilling, sanding, sawing, chiselling, CAD/CAM, line bending and produce two high quality cross halving joints.

In Year 8, students develop their knowledge further of the design process and design and make their own Travel Game. They will use skills such as measuring, marking, cutting aluminium sheet, metal filing, use of a timber former, vacuum forming and CAD/CAM. They also design and manufacture packaging to make it a realistic commercial product.


Design Technology is a creative and vibrant subject. There is a mix of theory and practical lessons which requires the application of knowledge and understanding when developing ideas, planning, producing products and evaluating them.

Students will learn a wide range of designing and making skills and will be given the opportunity to work with a range of materials and computer controlled equipment.

Design Technology encourages candidates to be inspired, moved and challenged by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study and gain an insight into related sectors, such as manufacturing and design. It prepares candidates to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices.

New for 2016 -

Due to changes in the curriculum, Design Technology courses will be changing from 2016. Instead of having 8 separate GCSE courses (specifications), they will now come under one general course which students can decide on what will cater to them best.

This single Design and Technology specification will be replacing subjects such as Product Design, Resistant Materials and Graphics. Within this students will be able to study an ‘area of interest’ in greater depth and really be able to develop their skills in the GCSE course.       

The course is currently made up of two units in total.

Unit 1: Design, Manufacturing, Materials – Theory. (2 hour exam paper in Year 11)

Unit 2: Design and Make Project (Controlled Assessment)

Year 9: The first year of this course deals mainly with the pupils acquiring the underpinning knowledge and skills that are essential to their success in both the written paper and the controlled assessment. The underpinning skills are as follows:

Theoretical Knowledge:

  • Paper/card plus at least one other material
  • Design issues such as sustainability, packaging, human factors, etc
  • Manufacturing both school based and commercial methods

Designing and making skills:

  • Drawing and modelling skills
  • Analytical skills
  • ICT skills
  • Hand, machine and CAM production methods

Throughout the year, pupils will complete design and make mini practical projects where they will develop their sketch and practical skills. This will ensure pupils will build their knowledge and understanding of theoretical topics through practical activities and tasks.

Year 10: In the second year, pupils will continue with developing their subject knowledge required for Unit 1 and will learn about topics such as manufacturing processes, materials and components. Pupils will also complete a mini design and make task to practise their making skills in preparation for their controlled assessment as well as gaining experience using workshop tools and machinery.

The latter part of year 10 is then dedicated to investigating a design context for the controlled assessment task and beginning their e-portfolio. Pupils will demonstrate innovative and creative design proposals and explore a range of manufacturing techniques.

Year 11: In the final year, the course is continued to be dedicated to the controlled assessment task for Unit 2. Pupils will produce an electronic portfolio that shows their investigations and key decision making for their creative and innovative design proposal. The e-portfolio is made up of 5 sections;

  • Investigating the design context
  • Developing of design proposals
  • Making
  • Testing and evaluation
  • Communication

Packaging, labelling and instructions are encouraged as part of completing the design proposal and advertising the final product which are used to supplement the making experience and help create products which can be evaluated for their commercial viability.  Once the controlled assessment is completed, the main focus will be on the preparation for the exam in the summer term looking at various exam techniques, studying the exam paper layout and ensuring excellent understanding of the theory topics covered across the three years.


Product Design (3D Design) is a two year course in 6th form with 4 units in total and is set by the exam board AQA.

In Year 12, students will study 2 units throughout the year. Unit 1, Materials, Components and Application is a 2 hour written exam sat at the end of year 12 and is where students discover the theory behind the subject. Unit 2, Learning through designing and making, is where students produce an e-portfolio of a design and make project linked to the theme of ‘In the style of...’. Students explore a range of product designers and 20th century design movements where they get inspired by iconic design work and are therefore able to enthuse their passionate and creativity for the subject.   

In Year 13, students will study the remaining 2 units throughout the year. Unit 3, Design and Manufacture is a 2 hour written exam sat at the end of year 13 and is where students gain a deeper understanding of materials, components and manufacturing.  Unit 4, Design and making practice is where students produce an e-portfolio of a design and make project of their own choice. They are set a design brief by a real client who has identified a problem in their day to day life and the student must meet their specific requirements to solve the problem. The students experience what it’s like in industry to have a client to keep in regular contact with and discuss potential ideas to make sure they satisfy their needs in the final product the student manufactures.


The Design Technology department has run a number of different trips to cater for the wide range of interests the students have and to enable the students to explore industry practice.

Product design A-Level students visited the Bristol IKEA store where they had a presentation to understand the background on IKEA and sustainability, shop floor to understand the concept of flat pack products and a behind the scenes tour of how the store runs on a daily basis.

For this academic year, there is a potential trip to New Designers in London where selected university students from across the UK show case their degree work which I hope will inspire GCSE and A-Level students to what they could achieve and the possibilities within the degree courses.  

Extra Curricular

For Product Design, we hold a ‘PD enhancement session’ on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school and this is available for Year 9 to 13 students to attend to support with their GCSE and A-Level work. This can be for their theory, exam technique or controlled assessment.

Throughout the whole Design Technology department, we strongly advise our A-Level students to come to the department in any study periods to enhance their skills and gain additional help and advice in their academic work.

Future Possibilities

Once students have completed their A-Levels, it is at this point they can decide on the next step where they would focus on an area that they are passionate and creative in.  They can then go onto a wide selection of higher education courses at a college or university or they could study an apprenticeship.

Product design could take you into a number of exciting career paths. Careers within Product Design can include product designer, model maker, graphics communicator, industrial designer, CAD technician, interior designer, mechanical design engineer, architect, gaming interface designers/developers, product manufacturer or advertising consultant to name but a small selection.