St John Plessington Catholic College

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Head of Department:

Miss E Hughes 




GCSE in Design & Technology, specialising in Graphics


The GCSE Design & Technology course is part of a two-year study programme which is aimed at preparing you for design A Level or Level 3 courses and careers in the creative industries.

This course will enable you to develop excellent graphical skills through the use of free hand sketching, graphics software and Computer Aided Design. You will be encouraged to design and make 3D graphic products with creativity and originality, using a range of techniques and graphics materials - primarily paper, card, board and plastic. You will use the skills and knowledge gained through the course to design and make imaginative solutions to a range of practical tasks such as a board-game or pop-up book, merchandise for your favourite film or band or branding for a new makeup product. Many pupils also choose to engage in projects based in the built environment, such as architecture, interior or landscape design. You will be enthused and challenged to learn through graphic images, to use and apply colour and to understand the impact of graphic media in the world we live in.

By studying this course you will learn about the following areas:

  • learning from existing products

  • implications of wider issues

  • design thinking and communication

  • manufacturing

  • technical understanding

The course is offered as a two year course with content broken into two main assessments

Component 1: Iterative Design Challenge

Controlled Assessment: Internally assessed, externally moderated, 50% of the qualification and based on a range of tasks released by the exam board.

There will be three open and real-world contexts for learners to interpret through the processes of ‘explore, create and evaluate’. You will use the skills and knowledge to design a product based on your chosen materials area, and make imaginative solutions to a range of practical tasks.

You could be asked to design a product to facilitate ‘smarter living’, encourage people to be more physically active or to engage people in more sociable interaction.

Component 2: Principles of Design & Technology External Examination

Externally assessed, 2 hour paper worth 50% of overall grade. This is a single examination component with questions covering both ‘core’ and ‘in-depth’ specialist content in Graphics. This content requires you to apply mathematical and scientific knowledge.


As well as providing opportunities to develop transferable skills such as numeracy, problem solving, ICT and thinking skills, this course is also an excellent route into an A Level Design and Technology course or further and higher education courses in design and manufacturing. Future careers can include roles in a wide range of sectors such as design, media, advertising, architecture and interior design, package design, web design, computer game design, illustration and animation.