Design and technology

Design and technology

Design and technology explores creativity and innovation. The world around us is filled with concepts and the ideas of those before us who sought to improve our daily lives. With the skills learned in design and engineering, students could go on to be part of a legacy of successful design that improves the lives of others.

Year 7


Learning outcomes 

In Year 7, students at the Hermitage develop the foundations of Design Technology by exploring core skills required throughout Key Stage 3, 4 and into 5 following our programme of study ‘An Introduction to Design and Technology’. Students are given the opportunity to work with various materials and apply this to a range of projects along with the foundations of drawing and design skills and an introduction to CAD. At the core of this, students are required to solve problems, consider environmental issues and develop the necessary skills to work safely in a practical subject. This builds on the basic principles that students may have developed in KS2. 

Topics taught

Project 1   – Students start with a skills-based project whereby they design and make a wooden desk tidy for a specific target user. In this project, students are introduced to the workshop and safe working practice using some of the machines and tools available to them. Maths plays an important role in this project as students are expected to mark out measurements and key markings using the correct tools and units to produce an accurate and quality outcome. Students are assessed on their accuracy, quality of outcome and their individual ability to work independently and safely.  

Project 2 – Following a booklet based curriculum students continue to build the foundations of knowledge of materials and processes.  The programme of study also introduces them to basic drawing skills such as 1 point perspective and isometric drawing.  Some CAD drawing is introduced too.  Additionally, another skills-based project is carried out whereby students work with aluminium to create a bespoke biomimicry inspired coat hook.  Students use hand tools and machines to create a well-finished product to help them understand the working properties of metal. The first year of DT at the Hermitage also sees the introduction and development of their understanding of environmental, social and cultural issues in design.  A knowledge assessment finalises the programme of study.    

Year 8


Learning outcomes

In Year 8, students build on and strengthen prior learning and are encouraged to develop independence.  There is a continued focus on CAD, necessary at Key Stage 4 and 5. Alongside this, students are introduced to papers, boards, composites and smart materials as well as fabrics and rapid prototyping techniques. Types of motion are explored through a skills-based project as well as Ergonomics in products. The scheme of learning provides opportunities for students to further enhance their confidence in drawing and designing techniques with encouragement to boost creativity through the manufacture of a high-quality outcome.   

Topics taught

Project – Building on from the previous year, students develop their drawing and designing skills and implement this in the development of an automata toy.  Reinforcing workshop safety considerations students set to work manufacturing their product with the use of jigs and templates.  A further development of designing is key with the introduction of exploded diagrams, 2 point perspective, both, aspects of some importance in Key Stage 4 and 5 DT specifications. The skills-based project also develops students’ knowledge of types of motion, ergonomic considerations and builds confidence and independence in practical scenarios, a requirement and focus in all areas of Design Technology throughout the key stages.

Year 9


Learning outcomes

In Year 9, students at the Hermitage embark on the final Key Stage 3 programme of study before taking their Key Stage 4 options. Encompassing prior learning students build on this with an introduction of industry-standard 3D CAD – Inventor, part of the AutoCAD suite. A workshop design and make smartphone passive speaker project also allows them the freedom to work with hand tools once more and support their mini-portfolio by showcasing their skills in CAD and hand drawings, sketches and designs. A need to understand electronic systems at Key Stage 4 sees students carry out another mini design and make a project which allows them to build an understanding of design briefs, specifications and design developments through iterative design. Enveloping all of the projects is a focus on materials and processes and an understanding that products are developed and created for specific needs and users. 

Topics taught

·       CAD development programme – Inventor AutoCAD

·       Why designers and engineers use CAD

·       Sketch development

·       Iterative design and prototype modelling

·       Dimensioned exploded views

·       Using CAD to develop working drawings

·       Transferring 2D designs to CAM – Use of laser cutter for product embellishment

·       How to write a manufacturing specification

·       Materials and manufacturing processes

·       Electrical systems, components and schematic symbols and diagrams

Year 10/11


GCSE Design Technology

Students who opt for the GCSE D&T course follow a programme of study throughout Year 10 which builds on prior learning and more, to prepare them for controlled assessment and the 2-hour exam at the end of Year 11. Helping to reinforce this is a range of small mini-projects that change regularly to keep our students enthused. These include projects that support the theory but also allow for an opportunity to get in the workshop and explore manufacturing techniques, tools and processes alongside some design development to build an understanding of the iterative design process. As they come to the end of year 10 they start their major project which compromises of a controlled, internally assessed portfolio which shows the development of a product fitting to a theme released by the exam board.  Students must show that they can explore and carry out suitable research, design their products, model them and justify changes and iterations before manufacturing them independently and safely.  They must show evidence of testing and an ability to critically evaluate their final prototype outcome.   

Topics taught

·       Material properties and technology

·       Manufacturing processes, tools and equipment, rapid prototyping

·       CAD (Inventor AutoCAD)

·       CAM

·       Social, cultural and environmental considerations

·       Ergonomics and anthropometrics

·       Designers and design companies

·       Iterative design process

·       Workshop safe practice

What's assessed

Paper 1 Exam

• Core technical principles

• Specialist technical principles

• Designing and making principles


In addition:

• at least 15% of the exam will assess maths

• at least 10% of the exam will assess science.



Non-exam assessment (NEA)


Practical application of:

• Core technical principles

• Specialist technical principles

• Designing and making principles



• 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

• In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above should be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner

• Contextual challenges to be released annually by AQA on 1 June in the year prior to the submission of the NEA

• Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence

• Work will be marked by teachers and moderated by AQA


How it's assessed

Paper 1 Exam:

• Written exam: 2 hours

• 100 marks

• 50% of GCSE


Non-Exam Assessment (NEA):

• Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx

• 100 marks

• 50% of GCSE