Product Design Curriculum

Design & Technology
Design & Technology is studied by all pupils in the First Year. In the Second Year, pupils experience a Technology day in February where they spend a morning making a whole project in one go. In addition to this, a dedicated Second Year club allows pupils to carry out their own projects. In the Third Year, it is a popular optional subject and pupils can continue studying the subject at GCSE and AS/A2 or IB. We use the AQA Course at GCSE Level – it’s a fun course with lots of design tasks and practical work. At GCSE and AS/A2 or IB, pupils study industrial practices and learn to analyse why products have been made in a certain way.

Product Design
Pupils can choose to study GCSE Product Design in the Fourth and Fifth Year, with AS and A Level Graphics in the Sixth Form. It’s a great opportunity to learn how Graphic Designers, Architects and Product Designers approach design problems. Students will learn to use advanced manufacturing techniques, including Computer Aided Manufacturing and Laser Cutting. Graphics students produce products using card, paper, foam board and modelling materials. Their products are often very creative, demonstrating flair and imagination.

The GCSE course culminates in pupils designing and making a product to suit real design needs they identify themselves. The A Level course involves students working with a real client from outside school to give them realistic commercial design experience.

Resistant Materials
Pupils can choose to study GCSE Resistant Materials in the Fourth and Fifth Year, and AS and A Level Resistant Materials in the Sixth Form. Students will learn to use advanced manufacturing techniques, including Computer Aided Manufacturing and Laser Cutting. Resistant Materials students produce products using wood, metal and plastic, among other materials. Their products are often very innovative, demonstrating accuracy and creativity.

The GCSE course culminates in pupils designing and making a product to suit real design needs they identify themselves. The A Level course involves students working with a real client from outside school to give them realistic commercial design experience.

Sixth Form

A Level Design and Technology: Product Design

The Design and Technology department offers two Product Design A Level courses:

  • Product Design: Graphics
  • Product Design: Resistant Materials.

Product Design: Graphics focuses on the design of products at the concept stage and does not require a fully functioning product to be made.  Product concept models, architectural models, packaging design and interior design all fall within the umbrella of Graphics.  The emphasis of this course is to develop creative flair in the design of well-thought-out products to meet a client brief, which are realised in model form only.

Product Design:  Resistant Materials focuses on the design of products which will be taken to a fully functioning prototype.  Engineering projects, furniture and mechanical products all fall within the umbrella of Resistant Materials.  The emphasis of this course is to develop creative flair and technical understanding to allow a functioning, durable and ergonomic product to be created in response to a client brief.

Content
In both the Graphics and Resistant Materials options, there are four parts to the course:

  1. 6RM01 or 6GP01: Portfolio of creative skills worth 25% of the A Level
  2. 6RM02 or 6GP02: D & T in practice worth 25% of the A Level
  3. 6RM03 or 6GP03: Design for the future worth 25 % of the A Level
  4. 6RM04 or 6GP04: Commercial Design worth 25% of the A Level.

How the course is taught
Theory work is, where possible, taught through application in practical situations. Units 1 and 2 are taught in the Lower Sixth and Units 3 and 4 are taught in Upper Sixth.

Lower Sixth Year:   The portfolio of creative skills requires three individual projects focusing on research and analysis, innovative design and manufacturing procedures.  Theory lessons focus on materials and components, industrial and commercial practice, quality assurance and control, and health and Safety

Upper Sixth Year:  The commercial design project requires students to identify and liaise with an external client to help direct a ‘live’ design project from initial analysis, through design, to the creation of a working prototype.  Theory lessons focus on industrial and commercial practice, systems and control, design in context and sustainability.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. A Level students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry and will be expected to make use of manufacturing facilities in their spare time.

Preparatory Work
Work is set for completion over the summer holiday to prepare for the Lower Sixth course:

  • The study of Health and Safety in preparation for an examination in September.  Study notes are provided.
  • Research and analysis of emerging technologies.  This work will be used to direct the design project for the portfolio of creative skills.

IB Design Technology (Higher & Standard Level)

Content
IB Design Technology is a Group 4, Experimental Sciences, subject. Core topics are: 

  1. Human factors and ergonomics
  2. Resource management and sustainable production
  3. Modelling
  4. Raw material to final product
  5. Innovation and design
  6. Classic design.

The study of these topics is allocated 90 teaching hours and provides students with a competent grounding in all aspects of the design loop, allowing them to apply the system to a wide variety of product design tasks.

Additional Higher Level (AHL) topics are:

  • User-centred design (UCD)
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation and markets
  • Commercial production.

54 teaching hours are allocated to AHL activities. These topics give Higher Level students a clear understanding of the effects of design on the environment, as well as providing insight into making products which are fit for purpose and designed for large scale production.

How the course is taught
The six common theory topics, and at Higher level the AHL topics, are incorporated into a combination of practical and theoretical tasks to provide students with the opportunity to learn through application.  The design project, though an individual piece of work, will be guided by the teacher to ensure all assessment objectives are met.  The Group 4 project will involve liaison with pupils from other Group 4 subjects (Sciences) and requires team collaboration to identify a worthwhile investigation.

Expectations/Homework
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.

The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider Design Technology as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to study Product Design or a closely related discipline at university. The Extended Essay provides an opportunity to undertake in-depth research into the processes involved in the design and development of products or systems, and to make an assessment of their impact on individuals and society at large. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Preparatory Work
It is required that all students familiarise themselves with either a contemporary designer or an important designer or design school from the twentieth century. They should study the design philosophy of their chosen designer and analyse examples of their work.