King's Bruton

Design & Technology

In This Section

The Design and Technology Department is dynamic, receptive to change and an incredibly exciting place to be.

The department

  • The layout of the Department is split into zones, each one with a focus and purpose. The classroom is laid out in a way to encourage teamwork and collaboration. A key skill of successful designing. Sketching and designing and prototyping areas exist where pupils can develop ideas. 
  • Rapid prototyping can take place in the Tech Zone. Integrated Computer Aided Design using industry standard Fusion 360 linked to a suite of 3D Printers deliver a variety of outcomes. TechSoft programmes are used to deliver product outcomes through the laser cutter, and vinyl cutter and pupils frequently have opportunities to use the CNC Router.
  • The manufacturing workshop allows pupils to access a variety of disciplines. A metalworking area includes both casting and welding facilities as well as a lathe. Wood working is adequately covered with various hand and workshop tools used including a morticer and woodturning lathe.
  • The pupils are encouraged to design using a variety of materials and deliver professional outcomes to meet the needs of their clients.
  • As a school, we have a healthy number of pupils engaged in the subject and the results that the pupils achieve reflect the demands of the subject.

Practical and digital skills

  • From 3rd Form to U6th, pupils will enjoy a variety of practical and academic activities. In the 3rd Form the focus is developing a wide range of practical skills whilst learning about sustainability and the various materials, traditional and modern, deployed in today’s product manufacturing. Practical and digital skills are taught and used in various projects, and these projects span all years. There may be a small contribution requested to cover materials for certain projects.
  • The 3rd Form curriculum consolidates and builds on work from lower schools and starts to prepare pupils for a future in the subject, should they choose to take it forward to GCSE and A Level.
  • The Department also runs a 3D Printing Club and hosts KSB MotorSport, the driving force behind the School’s Greenpower racing team.
  • The Department is fully focussed on looking at future career pathways and is aware of how subject skills are directly transferable to the world of work.
  • Pupils are encouraged to participate in the annual Engineering Day and visits arranged to link classroom experiences to real-life situations. Trips have been arranged to Morgan Cars, The Design Museum and to the Mini factory in Oxford, where pupils were able to see the changes in modern manufacturing and see first-hand.

GCSE Curriculum

From the light bulb, the internet, mobile phones, electric cars and laptops, products have defined generations, changing the way we live our lives. The Design & Technology syllabus offers the perfect subject for those who love to be creative problem solvers, innovators, designers, leaders and team players.

With rapidly changing global challenges ahead, the skills you gain within Design & Technology will be at the forefront of solving the problems that businesses and society face. The approach known as Design Thinking, that you will learn in Design & Technology, is a fantastic lifetime asset, and respected and valued by many. If you enjoy being creative, get satisfaction from problem solving and can spot what people want, you could be a great designer and innovator.

The GCSE in Design and Technology covers a variety of concepts and builds on the various skills taught from prep schools and the 3rd Form.

Pupils learn about important design issues like ergonomics, manufacturing techniques, new and emerging technologies and energy sources, developments in materials and client centric design amongst many interesting items that are covered throughout the course.

To put these into practice pupils engage in their Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) which also includes: research into design contexts; identifying design problems to solve; developing design concepts and modelling and working with clients. The end goal is to design and make a working prototype for a real client which solves the design problem that the pupil has identified. Following completion, the project is reviewed and reflected on to allow for further modifications and enhancements.

Traditional presentation skills such as sketching will be an area worked on and new communication skills such as CAD, with Fusion 360 will be further developed. Many new technologies continue to be introduced into the department to support the pupils work.

What is the structure of the course?

The GCSE Design and Technology. Exam Board AQA course 8552 is split into two sections:

Examination Paper Written Paper - 2 hours - 100 marks - 50%. Candidates answer all questions in three sections.

  • Section A: Core Technical Principles (20 Marks), multiple choice and short answer questions.
  • Section B: Specialist Technical Principles (30 Marks) Several short answer questions and one extended response.
  • Section C Designing and making principles (50 Marks) short and extended answers including extended response questions.

Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) - Approximately 40 hours - 100 marks - 50%. Consists a single design and make task selected from 3 design contexts set by AQA and available to the Pupils in June in the year before submission. Completion date is in the last week of the Easter term. Moderation takes place in April and results of this will be presented to the candidates before their work is sent away for external moderation.

GCSE Specification


A Level Curriculum

The A Level Design and Technology, Product Design qualification, gives pupils the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries.

Pupils will produce their own design portfolio, researching a specific problem area of their choice, working with a live client to enhance and improve a situation. They will be working with many different materials, testing outcomes to see how successfully they meet the requirements of their client, before building a completed working prototype, which will be evaluated based on the success of it fulfilling the requirements set out at the beginning in the specification. (Iterative design is a process of designing a product in which the product is tested and evaluated repeatedly at different stages of design to eliminate usability flaws before the product is designed and launched). This constitutes 50% of the A Level.

The exam component will test pupils’ knowledge of materials and manufacturing techniques, look at their understanding of various manufacturing process, examine their working knowledge of the design process, identify the role of a designer, and their responsibility’s in this role, as well as enable them to show off their talent and passion as a designer.

The assessment of the course is broken down into three areas: -

  1. Technical principles written exam 2.5hrs 30% of the A Level. This is a mixture of short and extended responses.
  2. Design and Making principles written exam 1.5hrs 20% of the A Level. This looks at product analysis and commercial manufacture.
  3. Non-exam assessment 50% of the exam, submitted as a written or digital portfolio and photographic evidence of the final prototype.

Pupils should develop the ability to draw on and apply a range of skills and knowledge from other subject areas to inform their decisions in design and the application or development of technology. There are clear links between aspects of the specification content and other subject areas, including business studies, art and design, history of art, the sciences and maths. There are also opportunities within the specification for pupils to integrate and apply their wider knowledge and understanding from other subject areas studied at GCSE.

Design and technology can set you up for a career in a wide variety of industries. Careers for people with design and technology qualifications include: Product Designer, Architect, Software Engineer, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, Plastic Surgeon, Material Scientist, or even the next James Dyson or Jonathan Ive.

A Level Specification

Contact Design Technology Staff

Head of Design & Technology
Mr Nick Hart

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