Design and Technology

Students who like to design and make their own working products; and enjoy specialist design disciplines such as, textiles, 3D product design, graphics, jewellery, architecture, electronics and engineering should think about studying DT.

Students also discover how today’s designers are responding to global issues such as poverty and the environment; they develop the skills necessary to be a successful designer, architect or engineer and even make the first steps toward a rewarding career.

Students set and write their own design briefs and are encouraged to identify real life needs and clients, in order to test and evaluate their design outcomes.



Paper 1

What's assessed

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE


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.

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

What's assessed

Practical application of:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it's assessed

  • Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE


  • Substantial design and make task
  • Assessment criteria:
    • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
    • Producing a design brief and specification
    • Generating design ideas
    • Developing design ideas
    • Realising design ideas
    • Analysing & evaluating
  • In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above should be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner
  • Contextual challenges to be released annually by AQA on 1 June in the year prior to the submission of the NEA
  • Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence
  • Work will be marked by teachers and moderated by AQA


Core technical principles

In order to make effective design choices students will need a breadth of core technical knowledge and understanding that consists of:

  • new and emerging technologies
  • energy generation and storage
  • developments in new materials
  • systems approach to designing
  • mechanical devices
  • materials and their working properties.

Specialist technical principles

In addition to the core technical principles, all students should develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the following specialist technical principles:

  • 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.

The categories through which the principles can be delivered are:

  • papers and boards
  • timber based materials
  • metal based materials
  • polymers
  • textile based materials
  • electronic and mechanical systems.

Designing and making principles

Students should know and understand that all design and technology activities take place within a wide range of contexts.

They should also understand how the prototypes they develop must satisfy wants or needs and be fit for their intended use. For example, the home, school, work or leisure.

They will need to demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of designing and making principles in relation to the following areas:

  • 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



If you have any further questions, please speak to Mr Pallett.

You can also find more detailed information on the AQA website.

AQA | Design and Technology | GCSE | Design and Technology


Design & Technology as a subject gives the students transferable skills and the ability to
contribute creatively in any situation. The skills listed above are highly valued by employers
and lend themselves to all walks of life. The more specialised knowledge and skills can lead
to higher education and employment in the following fields: Architecture, Engineering (civil,
electronic and mechanical), Design (product, graphic, interior, service) Quantitative
Surveying, Design Management, Software or Website Design and Manufacturing

Take a look at some of the jobs we've identified below that make use of DT:

Urban Designer

Recycling Officer

Kitchen Fitter

Graphic Designer