St John Plessington Catholic College

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Head of Department:

Miss E Hughes 




GCSE in Design & Technology, specialising in Product Design


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, engineering or manufacturing industries.

This course will provide opportunities for you to develop the skills you need to design, model, make and evaluate products which meet an identified need. You will develop your designing and making skills through working with a range of manufacturing processes and materials, focusing mainly on wood, plastic and metal. You will learn to use the full range of workshop tools and equipment and will use CAD CAM (computer aided design and manufacture) and the latest technology to produce products of quality. Examples of products you can design & manufacture include low voltage lighting, small storage unit or an educational toy for a child.

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 Product Design. This content requires you to apply mathematical and scientific knowledge.


As well as developing valuable transferable skills this course provides a route into A Level Product Design and other further and higher education courses in design and technology. Career sectors include product design, industrial design, architecture, manufacturing, engineering, construction and mechanics.