Design & Technology

Design & Technology

Meet the Department

  • Mr Pavey – Subject Leader of Design & Technology
  • Mrs Miller – Teacher of Design & Technology – Specialism: Textiles
  • Mrs Truss – Teacher of Food and Nutrition
  • Miss Walker – Teacher of Design Technology
  • Mr Peachment – Key Stage 3 Graphics specialist
  • Mr Steadman – Technician
  • Mr Truss – Technician

Design & Technology at St Richard’s Catholic College, is a subject to iIMG_9099nspire creative thinking, decision-making, problem solving with a respect to the world that we live in.


“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”

William Morris


“Creativity takes Courage”  we encourage creativity, originality and flair through the design and make projects 

Henry Matisse


Watching pupils get to grips with the Design process, the spontaneity of initial ideas and the precision of technical drawings all have their place and is a pleasure to witness. Pupils receive an excellent grounding in a range of subject areas; Resistant Materials, Textiles, Food Technology/Science and Graphic Products.  Pupils are encouraged to explore, challenge and evaluate their own and others’ ideas in a respectful and mature way.  The key for a truly successful product lies in the pupil/designer’s ability to combine a beautiful design with its functionality.  It is important for all pupils to realise that everything that surrounds them has been designed and manufactured.


As a subject that promotes creative thinking and the ability to develop and evaluate new designs and improve on existing ones, Design & Technology is a subject that prepares pupils for a number of careers as outlined below.


The subject is founded upon a professional process that utilises the practical application of Maths, Science and Art/Design to create new innovative solutions to real world problems with social, moral & ethical design as a key strand to the pupils’ learning.


A qualification in Design & Technology can be combined with other GCSEs for entry to further education courses; as a precursor to studying the areas at A-level, HNC, HND, Foundation Degree or Undergraduate Degree level, or as a necessary entry to vocational and pre-vocational courses in a technology-based subject.


Possible careers:

  • Food & Nutrition: dietitian, chef, catering industry, food industry, materials technologist, personal trainer, blogger, product development, sensory science, teaching, food microbiologist and food nutritionist.
  • Graphics: architect, graphic designer, games designer, desktop publishing (magazines & newspapers), display designer, illustrator, medical graphic artist, model maker, shoe designer, surveyor, archaeologist and toymaker.
  • Resistant Materials: civil/mechanical engineer, product designer, architect, project manager, 3D model maker, computer aided designer, car designer, exhibition designer, inventor, interior designer, entrepreneur and furniture designer.
  • Textiles: design work, window dresser, fashion designer, textile designer, interior designer, clothing technologist, retail buyer and teacher.

Exam Success

Design & Technology Department. Last year (2020-2021), 100% of pupils gained 5-9 grades.

Food & Nutrition GCSE  = 71%

Key Stage 3 Curriculum
  • Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups in Years 7-9.
  • In Years 7-8 pupils have two 50 minute lessons a week.
  • In Year 9 pupils take two options in Design & Technology each running for half the academic year, i.e. Food & Textiles.


Course Outline

In Years 7 and 8, pupils study five modules, each taking approximately 7-8 weeks to cover. We offer Resistant Materials, Graphics, Food and Textiles. The John Muir Award also runs within Year 7. We see pupils grow in confidence when first encountering a fretsaw, pillar drill or laser cutter – some are cautious, others leap straight in with gusto, but all ultimately use the machines to produce their designs.  Each unit allows pupils to develop the cognitive and practical skills involved in problem solving and intelligent decision-making.

All pupils will experience the use of modern and smart materials, using CAD/CAM in a safe and creative environment.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

In Years 10 & 11 we offer a GCSE in Design & Technology where pupils can work predominantly  in Textiles or Resistant Materials and Food & Nutrition. Pupils have three 50 minute lessons a week.

  • GCSE Design & Technology
  • GCSE Food & Nutrition

In Year 10 the pupils will increase their depth of study into their materials area.  They will have a finely balanced schedule of learning from practical skills using focused practical tasks (FPTs) and theory lessons.


The FPTs will concentrate on specific materials, including smart materials, and tool handling that the pupils may choose to utilise during their GCSE controlled assessment task (referred to as a NEA). These smaller scaled projects will enable a broad range of learning and more importantly to individualise any independent learning a pupil may request.  This subject at GCSE is very much about inspiring creative thinking, problem solving and intelligent decision making which are all real skills for life!


Theory lessons will give pupils a full understanding of design history, and develop their awareness of design by looking at products already on the market, from past to present, and studying styles of design and influential designers. They will gain an in-depth knowledge of the full subject requirements in order to complete the exam paper successfully and to fulfil all stages of their design work with confidence.


Autonomous learning is expected in Year 11 and so it is vital that pupils take in as much information as they can in Year 10. They are gently guided through the sections of the course so they can explore all avenues of the design process in great detail. Theory lessons continue throughout Year 11 to support all pupils through their exciting journey of creative and inspirational design work. The theory lessons also focus on examination revision to ensure they perform well in the final terminal examination.


The AQA Design & Technology syllabus allows great freedom for the pupil’s personal choice of GCSE outcome and it naturally encourages flair, imagination, enthusiasm and creativity.  Pupils will engage in a ‘design and make’ project that is linked to industrial practice that is client based. ICT is used to enhance the quality of pupils’ work, using computer-aided design and manufacture (CAD/CAM) and ICT-based sources for research. Pupils will consider how technology affects society and their own lives and learn that new technologies have both advantages and disadvantages.  The syllabus calls for us to ensure that our pupils are encouraged to look at issues such as the economical, moral and social impact of their products and that as ethical designers they show an awareness of how their designs will impact on the world around them.


Coursework consists of a timed Assessment task, set by AQA at the end of Year 10 called an NEA.  This will demonstrate a wide range of techniques, requiring pupils to create, develop and communicate solutions to their own individual project contexts and design briefs. Pupils will evidence material testing and manufacturing techniques shown through the development of high quality design skills and modelling techniques with a focus on real world design problems and clients.


Pupils will submit a concise design portfolio with appropriate ICT/photographic evidence, together with a 3D working prototype.


Extra weekly sessions are run for those pupils who need that little extra support.

  • NEA contextual tasks are released on the 1st June each year
  • Duration 35 hours to produce a maximum of 20 pages and 10 hours to make a prototype
  • Weighting: 50% of the final GCSE


  • Externally examined in June Year 11 – one tier only
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Weighting: 50% of the final GCSE, which includes multiple choice questions and extended writing responses


There is a single tier entry in Design & Technology and pupils will be awarded a grade 1-9.

Assessment in Design & Technology

In KS3, all pupils are set a target score that is based on their KS2 average point score and other relevant data. At KS4, pupils are set an aspirational target grade based on the Fischer Family Trust and our own internal assessment data. Pupils are expected to achieve this grade and will be supported to do so.


Work is marked using scores at KS3 ranging from 1 to 7, and KS4 is in line with the GCSE and is based on the 1 to 9 number system. Past paper questions and mocks are marked according to exam board mark schemes.


Pupils will be assessed regularly within the topic areas using a mixture of class and homework exercises from past papers and other sources.


All pupils have a formal assessment at the end of each module and are awarded an overall score.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There are weekly support sessions that are open to all pupils. Those who have been identified as being ‘more able’ in Design Technology are encouraged to come and help with weaker pupils to consolidate their learning. We have Enterprise clubs, Year 11 catch-up club and a Textiles Club on offer.

Changes for 2022 in Design & Technology GCSE


Changes to NEA

There are changes to parts of the NEA for GCSE Design and Technology. The ‘Realising design ideas’ and ‘Analysing and evaluating’ sections have been rewritten to reflect these changes.


Realising design ideas

  • This section has been reduced from 20 to 10 marks
  • Students will no longer be assessed on the skill of making but will be required to show their ‘intentions of prototypes’ and demonstrate their understanding of the processes involved in making
  • The assessment no longer requires students to make a final prototype. Instead, they can show their understanding of the processes involved in making by writing about them. Documenting these processes is one way of gaining marks in the 2022 ‘Realising design ideas’ section.


Analysing and evaluation

  • This section has been reduced from 20 to 15 marks
  • Analysis and evaluation throughout the design process can take place in relation to prototype ideas and models
  • There’s no expectation to test a final made prototype but students should find ways of testing prototype designs.


Advance information on exams will be available

To help students focus their exam preparation, there will be advance information on what exams will cover.

This advance information will be available by 7 February 2022, or sooner if the pandemic worsens.

In the meantime, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published guidance for teachers and students on the use of advance information for 2022.



Changes for 2022 in Food preparation and Nutrition GCSE


Changes to NEA tasks

  • NEA1: Food Investigation Task (15%) – no longer required
  • NEA2: Food Preparation Task (50%) – will remain as part of the assessment, but the requirement is now to complete two dishes within 3 hours.


Breakdown of assessment

Section Marks available
Section A: Researching the task

Recording four to six ideas should allow students to show a good range of skills using different ingredients and processes. When they have recorded their ideas, students will then need to decide which dishes to make.

Section B: Demonstration of technical skills

Make up to three technical dishes

Section C: Planning for the final menu

Plan to make two final dishes

Section D: Making the final dishes

Make two final dishes. During the practical assessment, the teacher will be assessing:

●     use and execution of a range of technical skills

●     it is acknowledged that the making of only two dishes (as opposed to three) provides less opportunity for the coverage of food preparation skills.

Section E: Analyse and evaluate

●     Analysis and evaluation of two final dishes

●     Sensory evaluation could be done in a home setting. This can be achieved by setting up testing panels and a variety of sensory analysis methods can be used.  It is not advised to carry out testing within a classroom environment because of hygiene and safety issues related to coronavirus.




No changes to the exam

The exam will still cover the same subject content written in the specification.


Advance information on exams will be available

To help students focus their exam preparation, there will be advance information on what exams will cover.

This advance information will be available by 7 February 2022, or sooner if the pandemic worsens.

In the meantime, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published guidance for teachers and students on the use of advance information for 2022.