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Design and Technology Product Design

What is Design and Technology Product Design?

This is a rigorous and practical subject and an obvious progression from GCSE Product Design. However, the most important pre-requisite is creativity and imagination and an interest in designing and making products that solve real problems.

Students acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Computing and Art. They will learn how to take informed design risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens.

Course details

An essential part of the course is for students to carry out primary research by analysing existing products in the world around them and to work on their design folio outside of the classroom.

lower sixth

Students will be given a number of practical design assignments to develop materials knowledge, designing skills and graphic communication ability. These assignments will not form part of the final A Level assessment, but are preparing them for the substantial design and make project in Upper Sixth.

Alongside these design and make tasks, the following theory topics will be taught through a combination of practical activities, and industrial and exhibition visits, as well as more formal classroom lessons.

  1. Core Technical Principles: Materials; Product Design Development and Manufacture; Design Communication; Digital Design and Manufacture; Health and Safety.
  2. Core Designing and Making Principles: Design Methods and Processes; Design theory; the impact of technology and cultural changes; Design processes; Critical analysis and evaluation.
  3. Additional specialist knowledge: Materials and Associated Processing Systems.
Upper sixth

Students will undertake a substantial design and make project counting for 50% of the total marks. The assessment is divided into four sections – Exploration 25%, Designing 30%, Making 30% and Analysis and Evaluation 15%.

Subject content

Reinforcement of the Lower Sixth subject content with the addition of commercial design elements.

  1. Core Technical Principles: Design for Commercial Manufacture; Protecting Designs and Intellectual Property; Enterprise Marketing.
  2. Core Designing and Making Principles: Project Management; National and International Standards.
  3. Additional specialist knowledge: Scales of Production; Modern Manufacturing Systems.
How will I be assessed?

This is a linear two year course which means students will sit the two written papers and submit all their non-exam assessment (previously called coursework) at the end of Upper Sixth.


Paper 1. A 2 hour written exam: 25% of A Level

  • What's assessed: Core Technical Principles and Core Designing and Making Principles.
  • Type of questions: Mixture of short answer, multiple choice and extended response.

Paper 2. A 2 hour written exam: 25% of A Level

  • What's assessed: Specialist Knowledge, Technical and Designing and Making Principles.
  • Type of questions: Mixture of short answer, multiple choice and extended response.
  • Section A: Product Analysis. Up to six short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s).
  • Section B: Commercial manufacture. Mixture of short and extended response questions.

Non-exam assessment (NEA). A substantial design and make task. 45 hours. 50% of A Level

What's assessed: Practical Application of Technical Principles, Designing and Making Principles and Specialist Knowledge.

How it's assessed: Design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Where will DT take me?

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries with this subject being an obvious requirement for the following degree courses: Industrial Design, Product Design Engineering, Automotive and Transport Design and Furniture Design.

From: Informed Choices | Russell Group 2015/16 (Fourth edition); Design and Technology A Level is also listed as being a ‘useful additional qualification’ for degrees in Engineering (General, Civil, Aeronautical, Electrical and Mechanical), Architecture and Materials Science. Therefore, would work very well combined with Mathematics and Physics for example.

Entry requirements

It is helpful, but not essential, for candidates to have studied DT at GCSE. Therefore, if you are creative and a practical person, you could now continue in Lower Sixth. The most important ingredients are imagination, initiative and a willingness to try new things.

For further information, please contact Mr Walker:

"I loved doing the individual project which allowed me to be creative and innovative and see my ideas come to life." Emily, Sixth Former