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GCSE Design and Technology is a course that focuses on designing and manufacturing in the modern world. The pupils will look at new and emerging technologies, energy generation and storage, developments in new materials, systems approach to designing, mechanical devices and develop an understanding and appreciation for materials and their working properties.

This knowledge base will then be applied to a design and make activity, the NEA. This and the terminal exam have equal weighting.

Students should consider this subject at GCSE if they are: creative; interested and competent at drawing and creative design; have a good work ethic; competent at ICT and prepared to tackle challenging 3D Computer Aided Design; enjoy problem solving; enjoy making and building.

The Specification followed at GCSE is AQA Design and Technology.

Link to AQA website.

This requires the pupils to design and manufacture a product set by the Examination Board. The NEA represents 50% of the grade. The remaining 50% is allocated to an end of course exam.  The focus of the course is designing and manufacturing in an industrial context. Both the coursework and examination assess this approach to the design and make process.

NEA [Non-Exam Assessment]  [50% of the GCSE] 

The pupils’ NEA [coursework] involves the design and manufacture of a single product set by the Examination Board. Each pupil will submit a unique piece of work consisting of an Electronic Design Portfolio on PowerPoint that supports the practical manufacture. Practical work includes the development and planning of outcomes such as scale models, working models, a prototype or a final quality manufactured product.

 Examination [50% of the GCSE]:

The end of course examination tests the pupils’ designing capability, making understanding and knowledge, general awareness of designing & design movements and their understanding of the basic principles of industrial design and commercial production.

In addition, a Mathematic element will be tested at GCSE and this represents 15% of the total examination. It will be tested through the three Sections of the exam detailed below.

  • Structure of the Examination [100 marks in total]
  • Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks)
  • A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.
  • Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks)
  • Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.
  • Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks)
  • A mixture of short answer and extended response questions.