Link to OFSTED Report
Design & Technology GCSE
Specification: OCR
Coursework (Design Challenge): 50%
Examination: 50%

Design and Technology prepares pupils to participate in today’s rapidly changing world of technology. This subject asks pupils to become creative problem solvers, as individuals and members of a team. During the GCSE course, pupils take part in design and technology projects which are linked to their own interests and industrial practice. They develop a knowledge and understanding of specific materials, related techniques and manufacturing processes, in order to construct working prototypes and achieve functioning design solutions.

Pupils complete a design challenge that will allow them to explore and identify real needs and contexts - creating viable solutions and evaluating how well the needs have been addressed. Explore, create, evaluate is a process that occurs repeatedly as design solutions are developed, continually improving the outcome and building clearer needs and better solutions. Ideas and prototypes can then be developed into successful products in the future. The course content reflects the importance of Design & Technology as an integral part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) framework.

The Design Challenge helps to develop understanding of the design and manufacture of existing products. A range of creative processes are explored, developing sketching techniques and the use of digital technologies in communication, design and manufacture. Girls’ work is collated in their own design portfolio which forms an integral part of the coursework.

Pupils develop their understanding of ICT to enhance the design portfolios, including the use of computer aided design (CAD) software, control programs and ICT based sources for research. The use of 3D modelling software (Google SketchUp) is used to test and communicate ideas. The laser cutter provides the potential to explore computer aided manufacturing (CAM) techniques to a professional standard. The laser cutter can be used with textiles, graphic products and resistant materials. Pupils also learn about iterative design practices and strategies used by the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries.

50% of the qualification covers the principles of Design and Technology in an examination. Pupils learn about important issues that affect design in the wider world such as sustainability, global issues and user-centred design. They learn about a range of materials and components that can be used to create products including smart materials that respond to changes in light, temperature or pressure.

Girls gain skills relevant to a wide range of occupations, further and higher education and in their personal life; developing decision making skills, including the planning and organisation of time and resources when managing a project. They become independent and critical thinkers who can adapt technical knowledge and understanding to different design situations. They learn to be ambitious and open to explore and take design risks in order to stretch the development of design proposals; they also develop an awareness of the implications of cost, commercial viability and product marketing.

The study of Design and Technology can lead to careers in product design, engineering, architecture, fashion and graphic design. The subject develops creative and strategic thinking, while developing awareness of the opportunities that exist within the design community.

TWGGS offers courses in three areas of GCSE Design and Technology depending on uptake by pupils:

Pupils will be required to explore many design issues relating to advertising, packaging design, promotional work, illustration and visual communication. A typical project could be focused on promoting a new restaurant, designing menus, posters, fliers, and additional stationery. Graphics is taught in the Design and Technology block, which is equipped with a range of modern facilities. Each pupil has an A2 workstation, with a reversible desk unit and access to a suite of computers. Pupils learn how to produce two and three dimensional illustrations using 2D Design Tools, Google SketchUp and Photoshop.

Pupils develop their understanding and confidence when creating products with a range of materials. A typical project could be focused on designing a textile item based on research into a culture of their choice or designing an item for a teenager. Pupils work in the Design and Technology block, within a purpose built room which accommodates all of their needs. They will have access to a variety of sewing machines, over-lockers, sublimation printing techniques and a range of other facilities. The nature of the course will encourage creative thinking.

Resistant Materials
Pupils are asked to create design ideas to meet a need; they then progress to making the item from wood, plastic or metal. For example, a typical project could be focused on jewellery or furniture design. Pupils are based in the workshop; this room is equipped with a laser cutter, computer numerically-controlled milling machines, networked computers, a lathe, pillar drills, a vacuum former and a range of other facilities. Pupils also learn how to use hand tools in addition to the more complex machines, in order that they develop a sense of enjoyment and pride in their ability to design and produce outcomes of high quality.

“Design and Technology is about making things that people want and that work well. Creating these things is hugely exciting; it is an inventive, fun activity”.

Whilst GCSE Design and Technology is always offered to pupils, not all three option choices necessarily have a sufficiently high uptake to run each year.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus