Design and Technology

Department Info

Your child will be taught by the same member(s) of staff for the whole school year as they follow the Design Technology course of study.

All the Technology teaching areas are at the Helsby end of the school building. There are five teaching areas within the Department:

  • One Computer room with a full class of computers, printer, plotter, Raspberry Pi computer programming resources.
  • One electronics workshop with computers and printer.
  • One engineering workshop with centre lathes, CNC lathe, milling machine and sheet metal working equipment. There is also an adjoining heat treatment room with a forge, brazing and aluminium casting facilities as well as a spot welder, mig welder, arc welder and oxy-acetylene welding equipment.
  • Two woodworking workshops with woodworking tools and machinery, centre lathes, vinyl cutter, bandsaw (staff only) and a laser cutter.

The Department has a very wide range of resources and students can work with the more traditional tools and equipment through specialist machine tools to Computer Aided Manufacture.

All the teaching within the Department is organised around practical, making activity with Year 7 and Year 8 pupils completing one task each term and Year 9 pupils completing two tasks during the year. Year 7 and Year 8 groups will work in a range of materials gaining relevant skills and experience. In Year 9, pupils will use this knowledge and skill to both design and make two pieces of practical work as they work to a generalised brief.

In line with current Health & Safety advice regarding class size in practical lesson, in each year there are twelve teaching groups, six in the Orange half and six in the Yellow half of each year group. This results in a group size of twenty or less. Your child will be in the same, smaller teaching group for ICT, Food Studies and Textiles.

At KS4, the AQA Product Design and AQA Systems & Control courses are followed.

Pupils can also choose the BTEC Level 2 First Award in Construction and the Built Environment.   

At KS5, students complete the Level 3 BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Engineering.

Students following examination and vocational courses are encouraged to make use of the extra workshop time made available by staff at lunchtimes and after school.

Key Stage 3

Design and Technology (1)KS3 Design and Technology involves work in:

  • Resistant Materials
  • Graphical Communication
  • Electronics and Control

Over the duration of KS3, all pupils will cover the following areas which are in line with the skills and knowledge to be taught in the Design and Technology National Curriculum.

  • Design
  • Make
  • Evaluate
  • Technical knowledge

Pupils can expect to experience a range of different materials including Timber, Metals and Plastics. Focussed Practical Tasks allow students to gain a knowledge and understanding of these materials and the processes used to work and shape them. Electronic components, fastenings, fixtures and adhesives are also introduced as work progresses.

Students will cover all the elements of the Design Process. Written work, sketching and homework are completed in A5 books which are kept with the student until the end of year 9. It is extremely important that these books are kept safe and they must be brought to each Design Technology lesson.

Assessment at KS3 is on-going throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 and leads to an end of Key Stage level being awarded. The school uses national performance data to establish a projected end of key stage level for each pupil. Assessment is then focussed on a pupil working towards, achieving or working beyond this level.

Project work will combine folder work and practical work. Current projects include:

Year 7

  • Aluminium bowl
  • Pine snake
  • Acrylic keyring
  • Raspberry Pi computer coding with electronics

Year 8

  • Steel Bracket
  • Door Sign (plywood and electronics)
  • Laminated Plywood Boxes

Year 9

  • LED Lamp
  • Clock

Skills and Knowledge Checklist

Progress and Assessment

Design and Technology (2)Design Technology is a practical subject and this is reflected in the priorities for assessing pupil’s completed work and the progress that they make whilst undertaking the practical tasks.

When assessing work and progress and providing development targets and extension work, Staff look for levels of:

  • practical skills and competence
  • development of confidence with workshop resources
  • improving technical vocabulary used to discuss their work with their teachers and classmates
  • originality and level of demand in the design aspects of the practical tasks

Assessment of a pupil’s progress is predominantly based on these aspects of their practical work.

Classwork books are used to record targets and progress, complete homework, research tasks and planning and provide constructive feedback about written and drawing assignments. These books are valued by staff to confirm assessment decisions, particularly when there is evidence of a pupil working above their Key Stage 3 target level and fulfilling some of the more demanding assessment criteria. Pupils should view these books as a valuable information resource that will help them make independent progress throughout Key Stage 3. All pupils should ensure that their classwork books are kept safe and brought to each lesson.

Key Stage 4

Design and Technology (5)Product Design and Systems and Control GCSE are offered at KS4.The subjects are broken down into the following five main areas and assessed to criteria provided by the Examination Board:

  • Investigating the design context (Research)
  • Development of design proposals (including modelling)
  • Making
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Communication

These areas all have different weightings with Designing and Making having the greater amount. A two hour formal exam is sat at the end of Year 11 which is worth 40% of the final GCSE grade.

Current GCSE design briefs are supplied by the Examination Board and the student must choose one project from the list provided.

Pupils can also choose BTEC Level 2 First Award in Construction and the Built Environment. This course compromises of four units:

  • Unit 1: Construction Technology. A one hour exam.
  • Unit 2: Construction and Design. Pupils will develop a design for a building to meet a brief.
  • Unit 3: Scientific and Mathematical applications for Construction: Pupils will apply scientific and mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills to practical construction contexts.
  • Unit 4: Exploring Carpentry and Joinery Principles and Techniques. A practical unit where pupils will make a frame using four different types of joints.

Key Stage 5

Design and Technology (3)BTEC Engineering level 3 Subsidiary diploma is offered at KS5. This is a two year course equivalent to one ‘A’ level. The course involves six units of work over the two years:

Year 1 (Lower 6th Form)

  • Health & Safety
  • Engineering Drawing
  • Secondary and Finishing Processes

Year 2 (Upper 6th Form)

  • Fabrication Processes
  • Welding Technology
  • Mechanical Principles and Technology

At the end of the first year (Lower 6th), a BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Engineering is awarded. This is upgraded to the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Engineering at the end of the second year (Upper 6th).

The subject is intended to support Students considering:

  • Undergraduate Apprenticeship
  • Higher Apprenticeship
  • Craft Apprenticeship

It can also be considered as a good foundation for a Student considering employment with training in one of the practical trades.

If considering Undergraduate or Higher Apprenticeship option, it is important that whenever possible, the BTEC is selected to enhance theoretical knowledge in associated subjects such as Maths and Physics.


Homework is set at all Key Stages and in all subject areas. It is intended to reinforce the learning being done in the lesson and improve a Student’s underlying understanding of the subjects and the potential for further study.

Homework could be set in the form of research, design work, planning or recall tasks. All homework set by the Technology Department is marked, monitored and assessed in accordance with the Department and whole school marking policy. The content and standard of completed homework assignments is also a factor in the end of Key Stage assessment.

All homework is noted in the pupil’s Planners and the Technology Department asks for the support of Parents and Carers in ensuring that homework tasks are completed thoroughly and punctually.

Department Staff

Department Leader

  • Miss R. Clarkson

Department Teachers

  • Mrs L. Stewart
  • Mr G. Bonney

Department Support

  • Mr G. Hadfield (workshop technician)