Design and technology

Design and Technology

Curriculum information:

Year 7


Learning outcomes 

In Year 7, students are taught and encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of familiar contexts, considering their own and others' needs, wants and values.

Topics taught

Project 1 – Students are introduced to the world of structures and forces through an exciting project that allows them to design and make a prototype for a new state of the art bridge to cross the River Tees in Barnard Castle.  Using green garden canes, students work in small teams to construct and test their bridge designs. The specification includes both strength and aesthetics, and this encourages students to be scientific in their approach, as well as being creative yet sensitive to local feelings in their developing design.


Project 2 – Leading up to the Christmas break, students are busily involved in a wood craft activity, producing goods for a charitable Christmas market. The skill focus of the project is to introduce students to basic woodwork tools and equipment to produce a varied range of mitered wooden picture frames. Using a fret saw, students also design and cut out personalised Christmas characters and alphabetical numerals from wood, to present within their constructed framework.


Project 3 – This includes an introduction to electronic systems and circuit construction. Students learn about microcontrollers and programming and build simple alarm circuits to solve particular identified problems of their own choosing. Using a laser cutter and 2D software, students design customised casings for their alarm systems to suit the environment in which they will be used. Students also learn basic electronics concepts throughout the project using circuit simulation software on computers situated in the department’s newly restructured CAD/CAM centre.

Year 8


Learning outcomes

In Year 8, students are encouraged to become more autonomous in their work. Creativity and innovation are at the forefront of the scheme of work throughout Year 8.  Students build confidence from their previous activities, but strive to independently design and make products to a higher degree of quality.

Topics taught

Project 1 – Building on the Year 7 structures and forces work, students use 2D software to design structures to meet a specific need in society. Students will use pasta to create a prototype structure before assessing their work under competitive test conditions. Further developmental work underpins the iterative design process that forms the foundation of DT at Teesdale. Students produce a scaled outcome of their final design using wood square section with accuracy and quality high on the agenda of assessment. There is an increased demand for students to be aware of the various forces acting on their structures during test.


Project 2 – The theme leading up to Christmas is craft products for a charitable Christmas market. Students in Year 8 are involved in the design, development and construction of a pull/push along mechanical vehicle.  The concept of mechanisms is encouraged throughout the module as students use wood to create children’s toys using three types of wood within their design. Safety factors, aesthetics and function, along with quality and developing skills are all considered during assessment.


Project 3 – Students in Year 8 will build on their familiarity with electronic systems learned during Year 7. This includes an introduction to digital electronic systems. Students are encouraged to develop circuits from basic ideas using circuit simulation software on the computer. Students learn about astable (pulsing) circuits and build a series of light and sound effects circuits to solve particular identified problems of their own choosing. Using a laser cutter and 2D software, students design customised casings for their systems to suit the environment for which they are to be used. Students also develop their understanding of electronics systems throughout the project using circuit simulation software on computers situated in the department’s newly restructured CAD/CAM centre.

Year 9


Learning outcomes

Having opted to do GCSE Design and Technology during the later stages of Year 8, students in Year 9 follow the EDEXCEL GCSE D & T (1-9) course at Teesdale School. The three year course is iterative in nature, and builds on the work done in previous years, which ensures that the students are constantly developing their knowledge, skills and understanding as they review and evaluate their design proposals and project outcomes.

Topics taught

Inspiring a love of design and technology – A developing realisation that D&T at GCSE is about how real life products are designed and developed into prototypes (working models), using materials and technologies that are best suited to the job.


Becoming confident in developing your own ideas – Students are able to look at existing designs of products and find out what makes them so useful and successful. They learn how to develop their own individual design thinking and they learn to become confident in how they explore, create and evaluate their prototypes into an ‘even better’ proposal. 


A more personal approach – The non-examined assessment at GCSE is not restricted by materials or processes, allowing students the freedom to utilise any materials, resources and facilities appropriate to the design that they are developing.


Relevant and contemporary – The study of design and technology gives students the opportunity to design and make prototypes of products that solve real and relevant problems, as well as preparing them to become critical and creative designers, engineers and consumers of the future.


Progression to AS and A Level – The EDEXCEL GCSE and AS/A Level qualifications have been created together to ensure clear progression of knowledge, understanding and design/making skills so that students will have a sound experience of moving from the breadth of the GCSE to the specialisation of AS and A Level Product Design.

  1. Technical Understanding Examination (50% of the GCSE) - A two section examination (1 hour 45 minutes). All students must study the Core (Section A), plus one Material option (section B).


Section A: Core - This section is 40 marks and is based on the technical and theoretical understanding of a wide range of materials and topics including structures, mechanisms, and electronics. It also includes familiarity with the work of past and present designers and companies.


Section B: Material - This section is 60 marks and is based on questions relevant to your choice of material e.g. timber/wood products or systems and electronics products.


  1. Non examination practical assessment (50% of the GCSE) – A design folder and developed product/prototype.


Content overview - There are four parts to this assessment:


  1. Investigate - This includes investigation of needs and research, and a product specification.
  2. Design - This includes producing different design ideas, review of initial ideas, and development of design ideas into a chosen design, communication of design ideas and review of the chosen design.
  3. Make -  This includes manufacture, and quality and accuracy.
  4. Evaluate - This includes testing and evaluation.