Design and Technology at Sir Thomas Rich's

Design and Technology: Using creativity and practical skills students solve real, relevant problems.

Design and Technology allows students to use creative thinking and problem-solving skills in real-life settings and situations. Students learn about modern materials, manufacturing, designing and evaluating products, and develop skills in modelling and manufacturing high quality products in each discipline using traditional and modern methods. Students at Key Stage 4 and 5 have the opportunity to specialise in their chosen discipline.


Head of Department:

Key Stage 3 - Years 7, 8 & 9

Teaching Arrangements: Years 7-9 are taught one lesson a week. Students rotate subject area every 18 weeks (half an academic year), and cover all four areas in Year 7 and Year 8. In Year 9 students follow a 8/9 week rotation of the four specialist areas.
Homework Guidance: One piece of homework a week, 30 minutes.
Assessment Arrangements: Three assessed pieces of work per half term. These can include practical tasks, classroom-based tasks or homework.
Topics Covered:
Year 7/8
  • Food: Health and safety in the kitchen and cooking skills
  • Resistant Materials: Timbers, metals and CAD CAM
  • Systems and Control: Alarm systems, circuit design and circuit building
  • Graphics: Communication skills, papers and boards and packaging
Year 9
  • Food: The 'eat well' plate
  • Resistant Materials: The iterative design process, making a high quality product
  • Systems and Control: Programmable circuits, CAD/CAM
  • Product Design: Real life designers, the iterative design process

In Key Stage 3 students have the opportunity to build creative design skills in the different discipline areas, teaching them to think independently about real-life problems and how they can use design and technology to find solutions. Students learn and develop practical skills in the areas of Food Technology, Resistant Materials, Systems and Control (electronics, as well as CAD/CAM skills and modelling), Graphics and Product Design.

Teaching Arrangements: Students are taught for four periods a week, usually as two single lessons and one double lesson.
Homework Guidance: Two pieces a week, one theory homework, one based on consolidating practical/design-based knowledge.
Assessment Arrangements: 50% Coursework (Non-Examination Assessment: undertaken throughout Year 11 in class). One folio of design work (digital portfolio). 50% examination at the end of the year.
Exam Specification: GCSE Design and Technology: Edexcel Topics Covered:
Year 10
  • Focus on core materials: Timbers, metals, plastics, paper and board, textiles and electronics
  • Specialise in woodwork, carrying out FPT using different timbers
  • Develop practical skills in metals, plastics and CAD/CAM
Year 11
  • NEA project: students design and make a full working prototype of a product

The GCSE in Design and Technology enables students to understand and apply iterative design processes through which they explore, create and evaluate a range of outcomes. The qualification 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. It gives students opportunities to apply knowledge from other disciplines, including Mathematics, Science, Art and Design, Computing and the Humanities.

Students acquire subject knowledge in design and technology that builds on Key Stage 3, incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials and manufacturing processes in order to design and make, with confidence, prototypes in response to issues, needs, problems and opportunities. Students learn how to take design risks, helping them to become resourceful, innovative and enterprising citizens. Students develop an awareness of practices from the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries. Through the critique of the outcomes of design and technology activity, both historic and present day, students develop an understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world, and understand that high-quality design and technology is important to the creativity, culture, sustainability, wealth and wellbeing of the nation and the global community.

Entry Requirements: GCSE Design and Technology level 7 or higher
Teaching Arrangements: Six periods a week.
Homework Guidance: One theory piece a week, one design or practical based.
Assessment Arrangements: 50% coursework (Non-Examination Assessment completed in Year 13). 50% examination (two examinations of 25% each completed at the end of Year 13).
Exam Specification: AQA A Level Design and Technology: Product Design Topics Covered:
Year 12
  • Core design skills
  • Materials and applications: Timbers, metals, plastics, paper and board, composite, smart, modern
  • Manufacturing methods using those materials
  • Digital design and manufacture
  • Enhancement of materials
  • Modern, industrial and commercial practice
  • Requirements for product design and development
  • Health and safety
  • Protecting intellectual property
  • Sustainability in design
  • Marketing in the development of products
  • Design methods and the history of design
Year 13
  • NEA: A3 folder/digital folio of design work and a final working prototype of the product.

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers in the creative or engineering industries. They investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototypes of their choice. Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education institutions and employers.

University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto:
  • Product Design
  • Design Engineering
  • Industrial Design
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design
Careers that Design and Technology may lead onto:
  • Product Design
  • Design Engineering
  • Industrial Design
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design

“Design has taught me many new skills, both practical and in the design process. It has allowed me to express my creativity as well as improve my written communication skills. Design is a good complement to other subjects both creative and academic. It is essential if you want to go on to higher education to study a design-related course.”
Dola Daramola - Year 13, 2021
“I enjoy the fact that design is a practical-based subject and differs from the other, more academic, subjects that I study. I had the opportunity to use a wide range of machinery in the manufacturing project, many of which were new to me. Design is definitely a challenging subject but seeing the progress of your product is very rewarding.”
Ellie Webster - Year 13, 2011
“Design is a subject that offers a lot of freedom to design and manufacture your own personalised projects. Studying the subject provides and excellent opportunity for those who wish to express their creativity in a technical environment, and to utilise the wide range of machinery and equipment available in the school workshop. Developing practical skills in this way strongly complements the more theoretical, maths-based skills I have developed in my other subjects. This is a strong advantage for anyone interested in engineering or other design-related disciplines.”
Tom Bishop – Year 13, 2021

Associated Clubs / Societies / Trips:
  • Arkwright Scholarships: Year 11 students have the opportunity to apply for a prestigious Arkwright Scholarship in Engineering or Design.
  • Rotary Technology Competition: Year 10 students have the opportunity to compete against other schools in a design and technology one-day competition.