Design Technology

a picture of a student cutting wood in class

The Design Technology department aims to develop students academically and technically whilst broadening their awareness of the subject as a consumer of products. Our aim is to enable students to think divergently and employ their design thinking and practical skills to explore a wide range of user needs and wants. 

Students learn to respond to a diverse range of contextual challenges in their work, exploring a variety of processes and materials with imaginative confidence and with the freedom to learn through failure. Students will learn about various products, designers, movements, and industrially viable approaches to challenge and develop their investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical, and expressive skills. This will enhance their aesthetic understanding and critical judgement. 

Through exploring a wide range of processes, techniques, and materials, teaching and learning focuses on introducing and developing practical and design thinking skills. Each project also introduces students to the design of products from different eras and for different users/contexts. This is to help them develop their knowledge and understanding of the importance of the subject both from the past and in the present.  

Planning, delivery, and assessment of Lower School work is in line with the assessment requirements at GCSE to help students progress seamlessly into the Upper School with the critical thinking skills and technical ability required should they decide to take the subject further.  

GCSE Design and Technology aims to provide students with opportunities to explore technical skills across a wide range of materials, techniques, and processes to develop their understanding of the design and manufacture of products. 

Design thinking is taught alongside practical techniques using textiles, woodwork, polymers, metal, electronics and modern/smart materials. In addition to the traditional and modern application of these materials students are encouraged to develop work through a process of personal experimentation to produce a collective body of innovative design solutions. 

GCSE Design and Technology is designed for students who have a commitment to and love of the subject and feel motivated to develop their skills and express their ideas from various contextual starting points.   

Future Careers

GCSE Design and Technology is a valuable qualification for anyone interested in a career or future within the broad world of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) subjects. It provides students with the practical skills and technical knowledge they need to succeed in a variety of fields, including engineering, industrial design, material science, material engineering, automotive design, fashion design, architecture, illustration, ceramics, printmaking, teaching and graphic and computer-aided design. The subject also includes consideration of the ethical, emotional and legal issues surrounding the subject of materials, product design and design thinking. 

In addition to providing students with a strong foundation in the wider world of being an informed consumer and user of products, Design and Technology also teaches them valuable transferable skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These skills are essential for success in the 21st century, regardless of the career path a student chooses. It is the view of the department that the subject comprises a unique set of life skills that can help facilitate practical confidence and independence for the future.  

Beyond the classroom

The Design Technology Department is open on Monday lunchtime specifically to host the new Engineering Club. This club has been launched by Sixth Form students with a view to introduce Lower School students to the wonders of Engineering and allow the older students to develop leadership skills in addition to sharing their passion for the subject they wish to pursue at a higher level.  

Throughout the week GCSE students can get involved in a range of 2D and 3D activities that are student specific to the Design Technology course they are studying. This is arranged on a more bespoke basis and can be carried out at times before and after the school day, in addition to lunchtime sessions.

Students are invited to enter various competitions throughout the year and the Design Technology Department offers resources to do so. Most notably the recent in-house United Nations Sustainable Development Goals competition launched during Summer 2023 saw a large group of students from Year 7 obtaining a bespoke visit to the Engineering faculty at the University of Birmingham.

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