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.

Having seen considerable investment over the past two years, and a complete refurbishment, when you visit you will see the department has its own computer design suite with the latest industry standard software, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, 3D printers, and electronics room, upgraded hot metal area and a rolling program of replacing power tools and manufacturing machines. 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.

The A2 laser cutter has successfully been embedded into the programme of studies and is really supporting the pupils in Product Design for rapid prototyping and creating final pieces. The pupils are now able to design and deliver professional outcomes suitable for the shelves.

A training programme delivers Fusion 360 (the CAD package of choice for the department) from 3rd Form to U6th, enabling pupils to really see digital versions of their design ideas. With 5 MakerBot 3D printers the pupils can rapidly realise their products, test them with their clients and make modifications and improvements, solving the context driven design task that they are set. (iterative design). The pupils are seeing daily success’, and this has enhanced the quality of the pupils’ work, with the quality and standard exponentially growing.

The 3rd Form curriculum builds on work from lower schools and starts with the construction of electronic circuits, including programmable chips and programming with software that allows pupils to work in class, at home and in the boarding houses. The pupils are also introduced to Computer Aided Design and learn to use Industry Standard Software, to enable them to design and create imaginative, fully working products. This sets them up for a future in the subject, should they choose to take it forward to GCSE and A-level.

The Department has also introduced Lego Mindstorms, run as an afternoon activity and is part of the First Lego League competition, and recently invested in the Greenpower Electric car challenge. (The pupils have raised the finance for this project and have purchased the kit and are in the process of getting the car prepared for its first race in a national competition.

The Department is fully focussed on looking at future career pathways and is forging links with different companies to demonstrate to the pupils how their learning is directly transferable to the world of work. A-Level pupils were exceptionally fortunate to visit McLaren and discuss with designers and engineers how the latest 570S was built from initial conception to the final working product. We also joined a trip with the Economics & Business Studies Department to the Mini factory in Oxford, where pupils were able to see the changes in modern manufacturing and see first hand the theoretical knowledge delivered during their lessons on modern manufacturing and industrial practices.

GCSE Curriculum

From the light bulb, radio and television to mobile phones, laptops and iPods, products have defined each generation. They change the way we live our lives. Product Design is the perfect subject for those that love to create and innovate. With rapidly changing global challenges ahead, Product Designers will be at the forefront of solving the problems that we will all face. If you enjoy being creative, get satisfaction from problem solving and can spot what people want, you could be a great Product Designer; maybe even the next Sir Jonathan Ive.

Design and Technology builds on key skills taught from prep schools and in 3rd Form and further extends learning through the introduction of new concepts. Ergonomics, Manufacturing Techniques, New and Emerging Markets, Developments in New Materials, client centric design, New and emerging Technologies, and, of course, 3D printing. The Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) includes: - Research into design contexts; identifying design problems to solve; Design concepts and modelling; Development of the design solution with the client; Making a working prototype; Evaluating with the client and communication skills. Traditional skills such as sketching will be an area heavily worked on and new communication skills such as CAD, with Fusion 360 will be further developed. Many new technologies have been brought into the department over the past years as well as a new purpose-built CAD suite 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:

Paper 1
Written Paper - 2 hours - 100 marks - 50%. Candidates answer all questions in three sections.

  • Section A: Core Technical principals (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 a 12 Mark question.

Non-Exam Assessment - 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 2 weeks before the 6th May. Work will be sent away for external moderation.

Year of 9-1 grades commences 2019

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 Department
Mr Simon Griffin-Raphael 

Support Staff
Mr Jim Byrne

Latest Design & Technology Department News & Photos

You may also be interested in...

Come and Visit Us
Come and Visit Us
Our Stories
Our Stories
Latest News
Latest News
Back To Top
Open Day or Visit Us Close

Private Tour

Come and have your own personalised tour around the School and meet the Headmaster.

Thank you for signing up!
We will reply to you shortly!

In the mean time, why not check out:


King's School Bruton, The Plox,
Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0ED


01749 814200

Contact Us