GCSE Design and Technology

Exam Board: AQA

Why should I choose this subject

Design and Technology focuses on the broad range of skills needed for life in the 21st Century. Design and Technology is a fundamental contributor to STEM - Science Technology Engineering and Maths - and is often the subject where pupils achieve the most sense of satisfaction when seeing their ideas realised. The UK Government recognises the vital role that STEM education will have for the future-proofing of skills, and a survey from 2014 found careers in Engineering to be those most likely to provide enduring and adaptable careers. It is often said that pupils need preparation for jobs that do not yet exist, and the skills developed through the study of Design and Technology help provide this. The subject now goes far beyond the widely understood specialisms of ‘woodwork’ and ‘metalwork’ to consider the morality and ethics of being a designer, sustainability and problem-solving.

What does the subject consist of?

Theory and practical work which supports the two assessments.

How is the subject assessed?

Component 1
Written examination: 2 hours
50% of the qualification
100 marks

Component 2
Non-examined assessment
50% of the qualification
100 marks

Whom does the subject suit?

Design and Technology suits pupils with enquiring minds, who are creative thinkers and who have a degree of self-management. These skills are nurtured throughout the study of Design and Technology, alongside reflective learning, team-working and effective communication. Examples of some of the skills used in the study of Design and Technology are; listening; reading; note-taking; contributing to class work; technical drawing; mathematical skills; modelling; CAD; manufacturing by hand and using CAM equipment; taking photographs and videos; creating digital portfolios.

What else should pupils consider before choosing this subject?

Before opting for Design and Technology, it is important to remember that pupils will not be making all of the time! The workshops are well-resourced and attractive, but they do not represent the whole of the subject. The first 7 stages of the design process are predominantly spent in the classroom, with increasing access to the workshop as pupils become prepared. Pupils should also consider whether working on an extended project – lasting up to a year – is going to be something they will enjoy as they will be working on the same project for a long time. This style of working develops useful skills for life beyond school. Design and Technology is like no other subject; it can feel uncomfortable for some pupils at first, but it is, in the end, immensely rewarding.