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Smithdon High School

Design Technology Curriculum KS4

We follow the AQA Design Technology specification (8552)

The students have five hours contact every two weeks in studying this course. Much of the content is developed from and built on the learning from KS3, but with a greater emphasis on the design process and a focus on developing and producing prototypes of ideas. There is also an increased focus on the application of maths skills, such as costing products, presenting data and interpreting data.

The AQA DT course provides students who are creative, inventive and enjoy ‘hands on’ DT the chance to develop their design and making skills. Students have the opportunity to create products – mostly from wood, metal and plastic – to provide solutions to a range of problems.

Students develop a variety of skills from traditional woodwork skills through to CAD skills and advanced manufacturing skills, using our computer-controlled milling machine, hand routers, lathes and our newly installed state of the art laser cutter and 3D printer. Using drawing and product analysis skills, students learn why we design products the way we do.

Utilising a variety of sources to inspire their designs, students follow the Design Process to produce a range of 3D products, for example a leading-edge design product to store iPads, headphones or smartphones. Students also learn about issues which affect design and manufacture, for example environmental issues and how products are made commercially.

How the course is assessed

There is a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) for which, pupils produce one piece of assessed coursework (a product and a design folder) which is worth 50% of the grade. This is published on June 1st of Year 10, and we begin working on it shortly afterwards. Previous context titles have included:

  • Nature and the environment
  • Teenage lifestyle
  • Multifunctional living
  • A high profile event
  • Sustainable future

The remaining 50% is assessed through an exam.