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GCSE Design and Technology

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our Technology curriculum overview

Below you will find more specific information about the curriculum in Design and Technology for students who have chosen this subject for GCSE, explaining to you what students will learn, when, why and how. There is also information about how parents/carers are able to support students in their learning, extra-curricular opportunities in this subject and how it links to other subjects and the wider world.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mrs Ellis if you have any questions.

Please click on the questions below to find out more.

Which exam board will students be examined by?


How are groups organised?

We organise our classes by mixed ability. The students have five one-hour lessons per fortnight.

What characteristics does a successful student have in this subject?

The most successful students in this subject will enjoy working practically, but also able to produce high quality folder work. There will be a significant Maths content in the exam paper (15%) and links with Science too.

What are the key concepts students will study at this level?

  • Properties of materials (including woods, metals, plastics and modern materials)
  • Using hand tools, machines and CAD/CAM to make products
  • Energy generation and storage
  • Simple electronic systems
  • Forces and mechanisms
  • Creative design work based on above knowledge

What will students learn at this level?

Core technical principles

  • 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

These will be taught mostly through project work. Materials will include timbers, metals, polymers and electronic systems.

  • 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.

Designing and making principles

  • 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

What skills will students develop at this level?

  • Practical skills
  • Analytical and evaluative skills
  • Communication skills (a mixture of verbal, paper, and computer based skills)
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving and resilience

How will students learn at this level?

  • Watching practical demonstrations
  • Practising different skills
  • Using the internet to support your learning
  • Recording your progression through Google Slides
  • Trial and error when experimenting with different materials
  • Observing your peers
  • Text book based work
  • YouTube videos of processes

How will students’ learning be assessed at this level?

In year 10 feedback will be given on the tasks you undertake. This will vary from verbal feedback for focused practical tasks to more detailed written feedback on longer project activities. Whilst very important, these year 10 tasks do not count towards the final GCSE grade.

In year 11 much of the time will be spent on a final coursework task. There is also a final 2 hour exam. Breakdown of marks:

  • 50% exam paper
  • 50% NEA project (coursework)

When do key assessments take place?

The coursework element will start at the very end of year 10. It needs to be complete for final assessment by mid-March in year 11 (Exact dates will be announced via lessons and school calendar)

How can parents/carers support students’ learning?

Encourage students to look at everyday products and try to think about the design choices that have been made (materials, safety, ergonomics, manufacturing…). For example, ‘why is cutlery made from stainless steel?’ or ‘What properties would this lunch box need?’

Research manufacturing processes via YouTube (or similar)

Use TechnologyStudent.com for general subject research.

What equipment do students need for this subject?

  • Essential school equipment
  • Apron

How does this subject link to other subjects?

Maths: General maths skills are used throughout the course and assessed as part of the exam.

Science:  Energy and material properties

Art: Presenting design ideas

Geography: Environmental issues

What websites or resources may be helpful to support students’ learning?



What extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities are available for students in this subject at this level?

We open our workshops to KS4 students at lunch and after school to work on projects.

What sort of careers can this subject lead to?

Too many to list here but they include:

  • Product Designer
  • All branches of engineering
  • Architect
  • Materials scientist
  • Aerospace
  • Car design
  • Mechanic
  • Carpenter

What does student work look like in this subject at this level?


How does this subject support a broad and balanced curriculum, meeting the needs of all students, and developing traditional core skills?

Broad and balanced

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise.

Meeting the needs of all students

Lessons are taught in mixed ability groups. Every lesson is differentiated to ensure students of all abilities are stretched and challenged. A combination of theoretical and practical lessons give students the opportunity to excel in different areas according to their own strengths. TAs are used effectively in lessons to support students according to their needs.

Traditional core skills

Science - investigations, electronics, materials and processes.  Selection and use of materials considering end of life disposal. Energy sources. Changing the magnitude and direction of forces.

Maths – Measuring, tolerances, scales, ratios, calculations of areas, dimensioning, calculation of material quantities and sizes. Calculate surface area and volume e.g. material requirements for a specific use. Efficient material use, pattern spacing, nesting and minimising waste.

Analysing responses to user questionnaires. Frequency tables and information on design decisions. Presentation of client survey responses. Percentiles ranges used in anthropometrics and/or ergonomics.

English – reading, writing exam answers and high quality folder work, communication.


How does this subject promote creativity, critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience, and making links?


Students are encouraged to think creatively and iteratively when experimenting, designing and making. A broad range of processes and techniques are used to enthuse students during lessons.  

Critical thinking

Students will develop the skills to critique and refine their own ideas whilst designing and making whilst communicating their design ideas and decisions using different media and techniques.

Practice, perseverance and resilience

Students are encouraged not to view the course as a linear process to be followed in a step by step manner, rather, students should be encouraged to follow the iterative design process. students will learn that it is ok for experiments to go wrong as long as we learn from this!

Making links

The NEA (non-exam assessment) expects students to investigate a contextual challenge which defines the needs and wants of the user. Themes such as ‘working towards a sustainable future’ links D & T to science.

How does this subject encourage enrichment and the development of cultural capital, deep learning, and inclusivity?

Enrichment/cultural capital

Students are encouraged to consider how products are designed and made when taking into account aspects such as design for disabled users, the elderly, different religious groups. They also need to show awareness of environmental issues.

Substance/deep learning

Students will have the opportunity to study specialist technical principles in great depth. They will learn how designs and prototypes must satisfy the wants or needs of the user and be fit for their intended use.

Open and inclusive

Every topic within the course is fully accessible to all students through differentiation in lessons and a variation of teaching strategies when delivering lessons depending on the needs of individual students.