Product Design

Product Design is made up of a variety of technology subjects that can involve food, textiles (soft materials), electrical systems, wood, plastic, metal craft and graphic design. During Year 7 to Year 9, students should experience all of these areas. The faculty encourages creativity and the development of skills through designing and making. Most projects will lead to a 3D product which can be displayed as examples of excellence.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, work is completed in units of approximately nine weeks and each unit is taught by specialist teachers in specialist rooms designed for; electronics, food, design, metal and wood craft. Students follow activities that encourage rapid progression from Key Stage 2 levels to the higher levels at Key Stage 3. Student progress is tracked in order to help teachers to set targets. These targets are reported home and written onto students’ folders. Homework is set regularly - helping to develop students’ knowledge and to prepare them for lessons.

Resistent Materials - Product Design

Year 7

Students create a display or storage project in Year 7 based on their own design. This is made using wood as the main material. They also produce a second project which develops the design and craft skills learnt in project one. An emphasis is made on the safe use of equipment and personal responsibility when using tools at all times.

Year 8

In Year 8, students design and make a mechanical or moving toy from wood and plastic. In this project a variety of mechanical components are created, to form a moving toy or animation. They can also make a novelty toy race car made from wood with the option of using plastics and card to enhance its appearance. The most able students can opt for more complex projects with the agreement of the teacher.

Year 9

During Year 9, students design and make projects such as a; wooden storage project, plastic name plate or mirror project. Some students move onto making toys or novelty small seats for children. The most able students often follow a more complex project with the support of the teacher, who will agree the final design to be made.

Textiles - Product Design (Soft Materials)

Year 7

In Year 7, students are tasked with making a fabric cover for a book or notepad, using recycled fabrics and the various textile machines available - with safety being a high priority.

Year 8

Projects for students in Year 8 include: making toy aliens and iPod holders using textiles and LED lights, fabric covered mini storage boxes, frames, and even mini stools. Using newly acquired design skills, students can print their own fabric using computer aided design and manufacturing. Students look at all cultures for influences on their designs. An electronic light, sounders, or a melody is available on some projects depending on individual choice and progress. For students that show particular interest and ability, a more complex project can be undertaken with the teachers’ agreement.

Year 9

Using sustainable and eco-friendly materials, students in Year 9 design and make cushions, or novelty covers. The skills learnt in Year 7 and 8 are used to make a creative and unique product. Once certain skills have been learnt, students often move on to more complex projects such as a fabric covered clock face with added embellishments.

Multi-materials - Product Design

Year 7

As an introductory project in Year 7, students develop new skills in computer aided design; they then use these skills to make a small wooden or plastic project using the laser cutter. Craft skills and knowledge of basic electronics, are encouraged through the creation of a unique project such as a storage item, display device, or an electrical powered cooling fan, or game. These projects are designed by the students themselves and a complex, but achievable solution is encouraged. A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.

Year 8

Using a range of electronic components and plastic forming techniques, students in Year 8 design and build a simple electronic circuit project such as a light or heat sensor, or even a steady hand game. The more complex circuits use programmable components and all circuits are packaged using a variety of craft skills and modern techniques including: using a CAD card cutter/plotter and the newly purchased industrial standard vacuum forming plastics machine.
A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.

Year 9

With the aid of computers, students design and make more complex products such as a piece of jewellery or a small toy. As a second stage of the project, a suitable storage container is made using a variety of craft skills in woods, plastics and metals. Electronic circuits are also used to make items such as night lights or mood lights. The emphasis this year is to focus on the types of skills that will be needed in GCSE Product Design such as drawing/designing skills. A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.

Key Stage 4

Year 10 and 11 Product Design GCSE – Examination Board - AQA

Taught in both years, Product Design is a subject option and topics relate to items that can be found in the present and the past. Comparisons are made between the materials used and product success and innovation. Product design is involved in all types of material used in technology and helps students understand how and why particular designs evolve. Because of the importance to research and design, homework forms a vital part of all courses - approximately one to two hours per week, might be expected. Results in the past have been above the national averages for similar schools.

Products are made by students throughout the two year course and it is expected that at least two prototype products will be made in each year. The use of a variety of materials and components is encouraged, including a range of manufacturing processes such as casting. Computer aided design forms a large part of the project work. Students develop 2D and 3D prototypes using a laser cutter, however, traditional craft work is still encouraged which stems from work undertaken in Key Stage 3. Each student’s progress is tracked by teachers to help set individual targets and this method helps the students to work on tasks that lead to their expected grades.

Manufacturing facilities include: a laser cutter, sublimation printing press, computer aided sewing and embroidery machines, stone polishing machine, systems electronics work benches, metal mills and lathes for wood, and mortising machines. The faculty has recently invested a substantial amount of capitation into a new plastics room with up to date industrial stand plastic forming equipment.

Students have the choice of which materials they use. Some prefer to work with harder materials, such as wood and metal, others prefer softer materials and use textiles and plastics. Often the choice is made during Key Stage 3; however, it may be a career interest or individual wish that decides the final subject choice in design and technology, e.g. wood craft projects lead well into carpentry and joinery.

The faculty has three catering/food facilities, three product design rooms and a computer room. Lessons are well planned with a mixture of practical, theory and demonstrations. A two hour written examination is taken in the final year for most product design subjects. However, all students must submit a detailed twenty five page design folder showing how and what they have made for their major project; this is worth 60% of the overall marks; The other 40% being the examination.

The use of practical skills is encouraged; however, the ability to show clear designs and write notes will be essential for examination revision and project folder work.


Exam board

Exam code


Product Design



Year 10

Term 1

Examination theory. Skill Development

Term 2

Examination theory. Skill Development

Term 3

Introduction to Controlled assessment project

Year 11

Term 1

Controlled assessment project & examination theory support

Term 2

Revision for  theory examination

Link to specification: www.AQA/GCSE/DesignandTechnology/ProductDesign/specification

Key Stage 5

Year 12 and 13 Product Design A Level – The Examination Board - AQA

The full A level will take two years to complete and is recommended for those that have achieved a C and above at GCSE in Design and Technology. Faculty results are often above the national average for similar schools. Students are offered a unique opportunity to solve real problems by designing and making products or systems relating to their own interests in areas used in the world of work. Both AS and A2 Level courses are theoretically based and rely on students’ capacity to show imagination, innovation and independence. The use of practical skills is encouraged; however, the ability to show clear designs and write notes will be essential for examination revisions and project folder work.

It must be emphasized that due to the assessment criteria, students will have to work under their own initiative for a large part of each topic. Work will be based on detailed notes and background reading completed by students. As in all A Level courses, a large number of the marks come from work completed in two written examinations - usually two hours each. The remainder of the marks, up to 50%, comes from the project work completed throughout the two year course.
The examination preparation will include mock tests, detailed lesson write-ups and discussion notes, all of which have to be kept up to date. Notes are marked regularly and examination questions are covered each week to help with examination preparation.

Lesson theory and discussion will require high levels of concentration and care towards note taking. Students will often study areas not studied before, for example, design innovation or production systems; these are difficult and at times highly academic, hence the need for regular background reading.

At least two hours per week should be spent reading information to help students learn more about designing and making. A textbook is available and free to all students to use at any time; however, it is advisable that one is purchased at the beginning of the course for revision purposes.