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Design & Technology

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The Design & Technology Department is conveniently situated in purpose built facilities at the far end of the main teaching block. These facilities consist of a generously proportioned ground floor, multimedia workshop (DT1), a large upstairs design/drawing area (DT2), an adjacent design/ICT suite with 18 networked PCs (DT3) and a smaller ICT/teaching area (DT4) mainly used by smaller GCSE and Sixth Form groups. The workshop is very well equipped to allow a wide range of manufacturing processes to be carried out involving a number of ‘resistant’ materials (wood, metal, plastic, etc.) and ‘compliant’ materials (cardboard, thin plastic, foam-board, etc.).


The upstairs facilities offer a spacious environment allowing graphical communication, design based activities and ICT to be undertaken by students taking GCSEs and A-Levels in the subject. Our ICT suites, which are linked to the School’s intranet, offer students the option of full colour printing up to A3 size and gives them access to subject specific Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs and the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) equipment: a large format laser cutter, a 3-D printer and an A1 sized plotter/cutter; which are all set up within the Department.

Design & Technology at Rishworth

Our aim is to establish and maintain a stimulating, supportive and disciplined environment that will promote the development of skills, enabling a systematic approach to problems of a technological, graphical or practical nature to be applied. We focus on three main skill areas, namely problem solving, graphical communication and manufacturing technology, which will stimulate and encourage enquiry and analysis, technological development and prepare students for GCSE, and ultimately A-Level, study in this subject.


At Foundation Level, the timetable structure allocates every pupil in Years 7, 8 and 9 one hour per week of Design and Technology with the pupils generally spending one half of the year learning the practical aspects of design and manufacture in the workshop and the other half concentrating on problem solving and the graphical techniques necessary to explore and convey ideas. Having followed this foundation course, students are in a position to continue their studies as a GCSE option in either Resistant Materials Technology or Graphic Products, and eventually to A-Level.

Lower & Middle School Design & Technology

Year 7 Topics

  • Freehand sketching.
  • CAD (2D design).
  • CAM (Laser cutting).
  • Practical skills.


Year 8 Topics

  • Freehand sketching (Isometric and orthographic).
  • CAD (2D design).
  • Practical skills.


Year 9 Topics

  • Freehand sketching (Circles and curves).
  • Designing.
  • CAD (2D Design and SpaceClaim).
  • CAM (Laser cutting)
  • Practical skills.

GCSE Design & Technology


This GCSE in Design and Technology enables students to understand and apply the design process by exploring, creating and evaluating a range of outcomes.  The qualification enables students to use creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.  It also gives students opportunities to apply knowledge from other disciplines, including Mathematics, Science, Art and Design, Computing and the Humanities.


Students will acquire subject knowledge in Design and Technology incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials and manufacturing processes in order to design and make prototypes in response to issues, needs, problems and opportunities.  They should develop an awareness of practices from the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries.


Course Content:

The specification content is divided into two sections: core content and material categories.  The core content provides students with a breadth of study and the material category provides students with a depth of study.  All students must study the core content plus at least one material category.  The specific material category on which candidates will focus will be determined with careful consideration of the strengths of the student cohort in any particular year group. All topics within the core content and material categories must be covered but can be delivered in any order or in an integrated approach.


There are two sections to the written paper:

Section A – Core content

Section B – A focus on either: Metals, Papers and Boards, Polymers, Textiles or Timbers.


Each question on the written paper is set in a context.  The paper will include open-response, graphical, calculations and extended open-response questions.  The paper will include questions that target mathematics.  Calculators may be used in the examination.


For the internally assessed coursework element, students will undertake a non-examination assessment.  The project will test students’ skills in investigating, designing, making and evaluating a prototype of a product that will allow them to apply the skills they have acquired and developed throughout their study.  Students are required to analyse a given contextual challenge from a range of three on an individual basis issued to schools in the June prior to the students’ year of examination.  Having selected a contextual challenge to work within, students should develop a range of potential ideas and then manufacture one through practical making activities.  The deadline for this assessment will be the end of the second term in Year 11.  The project must allow students to apply knowledge and understanding in a product development process to investigate, design, make and evaluate their prototype.


Examination Board: Edexcel


Mode of Assessment:

Assessment will be by means of a written paper and a Non Examination Assessment (controlled assessment) and both contribute half of the marks each.


Coursework:   40 hours

50% of the final mark

Examination: One paper of 1 hour and 45 minutes

50% of the final mark

A-Level Design & Technology


This two year course of study has been designed to require students to take a broad view of design and technology, to develop their capacity to design and make products and to appreciate the complex relations between design, materials, manufacture and marketing.  To prepare for this qualification, students will spend their first year working through design assignments and covering a range of theory topics.  The level of progress throughout their first year of study will dictate whether a student will be entered for AS or for the full A-level qualification.


Course content

Students will be required to apply their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of materials; including modern and smart materials, and processes used in product design and manufacture.  They will need to develop an understanding of contemporary industrial and commercial practices applied to designing and manufacturing products, and to appreciate the risks involved.  Students should have a good working knowledge of health and safety procedures and relevant legislation.  They must have a sound working knowledge of the use of ICT and systems and control, including modern manufacturing processes and systems and will be expected to understand how these might he applied in the design and manufacture of products.  Designers from the past provide inspiration for present and future designing and those following this specification should be aware of the important contribution that key historic movements and figures have on modern design thinking.  It is increasingly important that students develop an awareness of wider issues in design and technology, that design and technological activities can have a major impact on the environment and on society and that these, together with sustainability, are key features of design and manufacturing practice.  Mathematical and scientific principles are an important part of designing and developing products and students will be expected to apply these principles when considering the designs of others.


Examination Board: Edexcel


Mode of assessment

Component 1: Principles of design and technology


Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes (50% of the qualification)


Students will be examined on topics of materials, performance characteristics of materials, processes and techniques, digital technologies, factors influencing the development of products, effects of technological developments, potential hazards and risk assessment, features of manufacturing industries, designing for maintenance and the cleaner environment, current legislation, information handling and modelling and forward planning.


The paper will include calculations, short-open and open-response questions as well as extended-writing questions focused on analysis and evaluation of design decisions and outcomes and analysis and evaluation of wider issues in design technology, including social, moral, ethical and environmental impacts.


Students must answer all questions and will require calculators in the examination.


Component 2: Design and make project, non-examined assessment (50% of the qualification)


Students will need to produce a substantial design, make and evaluate project, which consists of a portfolio and a working prototype.  The portfolio will contain approximately 40 sides of A3 paper (or electronic equivalent).  In consultation with a client, students must identify a problem and design, context and develop a range of potential solutions, which include the use of computer aided design and evidence of modelling. They will need to manufacture one potential solution through practical making activities, with evidence of project management and planning for production.  The project must incorporate issues related to sustainability and the impact their prototype may have on the environment.  Students are expected to analyse and evaluate design decisions and outcomes for prototypes/products made by themselves and others.

Outside the Classroom

We are very keen to ensure that all students, at every level of study, are in touch with the real world when it comes to design and manufacture. Even the most basic design assignment will require pupils to research and analyse information from external sources.


When examination candidates are working on their final controlled assessment, the scope for variety is virtually limitless. Whenever possible we encourage our students to work closely with someone outside the School – a person with a disability for example. This type of extracurricular liaison has proved to be very rewarding for all parties concerned as well as beneficial to the quality of students’ designing, making and testing skills.

Over the past few years we have built up a number of contacts with manufacturing and design companies that are able to accommodate small groups for visits. Such links have shown to be invaluable, especially to A-Level groups, by enabling students to experience first-hand the scale and variety that industrial design and manufacture encompass.


Every year in March, twelve students are entered in the Calderdale Rotary Club’s Annual Technology Tournament (consisting of three teams of four students from Years 9, 11 and 13). We have been attending this challenging and rewarding event each year since it was established in 2002 and have achieved a very pleasing degree of success with teams frequently being placed in the top three (out of twelve or so other schools) and, whether winning or otherwise, all participants gain a great deal from their experience.