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Product Design

Product Design involves critically evaluating the world around us; identifying problems and using skills and knowledge to devise workable and practical solutions. Nearly all ‘things’ or objects we encounter in our daily lives have been designed and made, and it is important to understand the choices and decisions made by designers in their creation. As responsible, global citizens, we need to consider the social and environmental impact of the products we design and make and ensure that we make a positive improvement and difference to others. Students studying Product Design also need to understand other factors about:

  • the business of design and manufacturing
  • modern commercial techniques and new technologies that make manufacturing safer and more efficient
  • the balance between modern manufacturing and manufacturing using craft and traditional methods
  • the balance between form and function as we design


Years 7-9

Product designers in Years 7-9 complete a range of design challenges aimed at solving problems and developing key designing and making skills. Students learn to use a range of materials including fabrics, timber, metals and polymers. Students develop dexterity through hand making techniques, accuracy using machine tools and powered equipment, and an understanding of computer aided design and manufacture (CAD and CAM). Students complete investigation into the problem they are set, analyse and evaluate existing products, and learn and demonstrate designing skills. Students learn how to think ahead and plan their making, and devise and execute relevant tests for their finished products.

Years 10 & 11

Students study Design and Technology at GCSE (AQA GCSE Design and Technology 8552), building on the ethos, skills and knowledge from Years 7-9. In Year 10, students complete a combination of mini designing and making challenges alongside practical and theory study on the following topics:

  • New and emerging technologies
  • Energy generation and storage
  • Developments in new materials
  • Systems approach to designing
  • Mechanical devices
  • Materials and their working properties
  • Selection of materials or components
  • Forces and stresses
  • Ecological and social footprint
  • Sources and origins
  • Using and working with materials
  • Stock forms, types and sizes
  • Scales of production
  • Specialist techniques and processes
  • Surface treatments and finishes
  • Investigation, primary and secondary data
  • Environmental, social and economic challenge
  • The work of others
  • Design strategies
  • Communication of design ideas
  • Prototype development
  • Selection of materials and components
  • Tolerances
  • Material management
  • Specialist tools and equipment
  • Specialist techniques and processes

From the end of Year 10 and into Year 11, students complete their Non-Examined Assessment Course Work Project- applying their understanding of the skills and knowledge learned to design and make a product to address a self-chosen problem within a given theme. Students are also assessed by examination at the end of Year 11.

Co-curricular opportunities

There is a range of opportunities for students to develop their interests and skills in Product Design including lunch time clubs, in school and external competitions, Action! activities in Year 7 & 8. The Design Technology department are also keen supporters of other activities in school such as the school wildlife garden, creating props and fundraising.

We are challenged both academically and creatively in Product Design lessons. I have enjoyed being creative and solving problems through practical work.

I enjoy the freedom we have to design and model our ideas, and the manageable balance between theory and practical work.

I enjoy having a creative outlet and learning things in theory lessons that I can apply in real life.

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