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Design Technology

Exam Board: AQA 


Subject Overview

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.

At The Swanage School all pupils have at least 2 hours per fortnight doing Design and Technology using our great facilities in our workshop, including a large laser cutter, 3D Printer and CNC Milling Machine.  


Year 7 – Clock Project: The project introduces pupils to health and safety in the workshop and builds their confidence and knowledge of materials and processes. Pupils are introduced to research skills, design principles including isometric projection, making and evaluation. Pupils produce a clock using a wide range of processes including laser cutting, laminating and forming wood, forming plastics and joining materials.

Year 8 – Lamp Project: Building on their knowledge in Year 7, pupils are tasked with designing and making a task light. They apply and build on their making skills with a lot more scope for creativity and varied outcomes as well as the understanding of electronic components, soldering also is introduced in Year 8.

Year 9 – Architecture: Pupils begin the year learning about architecture and are tasked with designing a sixth form centre on the school site. Pupils are introduced to 3D CAD software as well as more traditional modelling techniques to communicate their design ideas. 

Business Enterprise: Pupils conclude the year with a business enterprise challenge which gives them the opportunity to use all the skills learnt since Year 7 and apply them to a product which they will have the opportunity to sell.


AQA Design and Technology (8552)

GCSE Design and Technology enables students to understand and apply interactive design processes through which they explore, create and evaluate a range of outcomes. It enables students to use creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes (together with evidence of modelling to develop and prove product concept and function) that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. GCSE Design and Technology also provides opportunities for students to apply knowledge from other disciplines, including mathematics, science, art and design, computing and the humanities.


Unit 1: Written Paper – 2 hours = 50% of the final mark and is to be taken in the final term.

Paper 1

What's assessed:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it's assessed:

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of 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.


Unit 2: Design and Making practice = 50% of the final mark is a design and make task selected from a range of briefs set by the examination board.

What's assessed:

Practical application of:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it's assessed:

  • Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE


  • Substantial design and make task
  • Assessment criteria:
    • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
    • Producing a design brief and specification
    • Generating design ideas
    • Developing design ideas
    • Realising design ideas
    • Analysing & evaluating


Extra-Curricular Design and Technology

There are a wide range of extra-curricular Design and Technology opportunities at The Swanage School including:

  • Young Enterprise Tenner Challenge
  • Young Enterprise Company Programme
  • VEX Robotics
  • Race for the Line