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Design Technology

Head of Department: Mr J R Hart

Why choose DT Product Design at A Level?

Design and Technology offers candidates an opportunity to gain personal satisfaction and achieve positive experiences whilst working with a variety of materials. The practical problem solving processes in this specification will encourage students to apply essential knowledge, understanding and skills of design production processes to a range of technological activities and develop an understanding of industrial practices. The specification of the examination is a natural progression from the GCSE syllabus.

What does the DT Product Design course involve?

Design for sustainability, for human use, to maximise the aesthetic value of products using wide ranging manufacturing techniques are all issues of the contemporary design process.

Design and Technology (Product Design) is a subject which attempts to embrace the above issues by encouraging the pupils to critically observe the world around them. Design awareness and analysis, both functionally and aesthetically, are skills that will be encouraged within all pupils undertaking this course. The results of various studies aim to generate original and possibly innovative ideas. The nature of the course will allow students to move forward independently and with confidence.

How will I study DT Product Design?

There are number of study skills employed within the subject. Students will be required to use drawing skills and annotation to illustrate the functional and aesthetic attributes of a number of everyday products. The use of ICT for other aspects of research, analysis and designing will form another key element of the work. A number of practical skills will be taught alongside the personal coursework piece that runs throughout the first two terms of each year. It is also expected that students will utilise the CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Manufacture) facility at some point.

Much of the work will be teacher lead but self-driven. Students will be expected to evaluate and question the success of current design issues. As a consequence, they will gain an understanding of the need to develop solutions whilst satisfying a number of clients and taking into account current trends and market demands.

How will I be assessed?

The AS/A2 courses are modular, with two units taken in each academic year.

AS Examination

Unit 1

Written Paper (2hrs) 50% of the total AS marks (25% of A2 marks)

A combination of compulsory and optional questions are used to test knowledge of materials, processes and components.

Unit 2

Coursework (50hrs) 50% of the total AS marks (25% of A2 marks)

Either project work and/or a portfolio of coursework which will contain evidence of a ‘design and make’ product.

A2 Examination

Unit 3

Written Paper (2 hours) 25% of the total A Level marks

An examination of two sections that tests knowledge in design and manufacture. One question from three in each section and one other will be taken. Synoptic assessment is included.

Unit 4

Coursework (60 hours) 25% of the total A Level marks

A single, integrated coursework project using any material or combination of materials. Students are required to demonstrate a commercial design methodology throughout their coursework.

What qualifications do I need to start the DT Product Design course?

It is an important for students to have gained a grade B or higher for GCSE Design & Technology. Having said this, it is possible for suitable candidates to be allowed to complete the AS/A2 course having not taken any of the GCSE options.

With what other subjects does DT Product Design fit?

Advanced GCE Design and Technology is designed to be either a complementary subject to Mathematics, Physics, Art and Design at AS or Advanced GCE level, or a contrasting subject with English, History, Geography and Modern Languages.

What can I do at University with an A Level in DT Product Design?

Students with Product Design A Level have gone on to read for degrees in Product Design, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Automotive Design, 3D Design, Interior Design, Town and Country Planning, and Cartography.

How will an A Level in DT Product Design help me in my future life and career?

The skills in practical competence and ‘real-time’ problem solving should give students increased confidence and self-belief when facing difficult situations in their future lives. The analysis of aesthetic and functional issues studied throughout the course will encourage students to extend these opinions through university, into later life and enable students to critically observe the world they live in.

Concluding comments

Design is our imaginative life made real. It is a creative and disciplined activity based upon bringing together information, knowledge, skills and sensitivities within a working context. Design is essentially a compromise of factors within a set of constraints. The constant evaluative nature of the subject provides a platform for the development of independent learning strategies. Students will have to critically analyse the world around them and solve problems in a wide range of situations.