Key Stage Information

Key Stage 3

Students are taught to

  • Look at products to see how they work, how they are used, whether they meet their user's needs, whether they use materials efficiently and what environmental impacts the products might have.
  • Practise practical skills and tasks.
  • Design and create their own products. 

Students learn to design and make proper working products. Although these will usually be one-off models, they also compare their work with mass production techniques.

Before starting a project, students think carefully about what they have been asked to do and how to meet the needs of the end user.  They plan their projects responsibly, making their own decisions about how best to use time, money and resources.  They use computersat various stages in their work and, sometimes, work in teams.  The products use plastics, metal, wood, 'smart' materials such as heat-sensitive fabrics, and electrical, electronic and pneumatic parts.

Key Stage 4

Graphic Products

The Graphic Products course encourages students to combine their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding in order to design and make quality graphic products.  It enables students to gain new designing, presenting and modelling skills and an understanding of the most suitable styles and techniques to use for best effect.  Practical abilities will be developed and knowledge of different materials and their uses will be extended.

Students select one of the published themes from the exam board and then identify a specific product associated with the theme.  They undertake research before establishing a Design Brief and Specification.  They then develop their design and use modelling before making and evaluating their prototype product.  Throughout, students will record their work in a portfolio.

Knowledge and understanding of sustainability, environmental concerns, cultural, moral and social issues will be developed, and students will also study examples of both old and new products in order to gain awareness and understanding of trends and innovations in design and manufacture, labelling, packaging and the impact that the design of such products is having on the environment, society and the economy. They will be tested on knowledge and understanding of designing and making products; planning and production: new (smart) materials; tools and equipment; processes and techniques; health and safety and the impact of the use of graphic products on the environment.

A qualification in this subject could lead to AS and A2 Level courses or a range of careers including graphic, industrial or interior design, architecture, packaging, advertising and model-making.

Resistant Materials

This course involves designing and making in a wide range of materials from wood and metal to textiles. The course enables students to choose projects related to your own particular interests based around a wide list of approved themes. The course also encourages an appreciation of the need for Sustainability and Eco design and the challenges facing the world regarding the increasing scarcity of new raw materials.

Students are required to analyse an existing product of their choice and use it as a starting point to modify and improve it leading on to a prototype model of the designed item. The model must include a range of resistant materials in its construction.  They will investigate issues relating to sustainability and eco design by undertaking a series of practical tasks and the unit will be assessed in an externally set examination. Students will also be tested on knowledge and understanding of designing and making products; planning and production: new (smart) materials; tools and equipment; processes and techniques; health and safety and the impact of the use of Resistant materials on the environment.

Students are encouraged to use computer and digital based technologies throughout the course, including making use of design packages such as Pro Desk top and Techsoft 2D design. The department is in the process of rapidly developing its CAD CAM provision. Currently it benefits from 2 computer suites, a computer controlled A3 Boxford Router and it is about to take delivery of an excellent quality Trotec Laser Cutter - the Laser Cutter is capable of cutting Acrylic, Wood and a range of textiles and other materials with great speed and accuracy, producing fantastic possibilities for professional quality production.

A qualification in this subject could lead to AS and A2 level courses or a range of careers including industrial or interior design, architecture, engineering, model-making or an excellent base for any of the practical trades. Additionally the course will encourage practical creativity and an appreciation of design. These skills will increase confidence in influencing and improving the environment.