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Design & Technology


Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

GCSE Design and Technology comprises two components. Component 1 - Written Examination worth 50% and Component 2 Contextual Challenge or NEA (Non Exam Assessment) worth 50%.

In year 10, learners will complete seven units of work which relates to the design process. They will also complete a series of mini projects to hone their manufacturing skills and use a variety of components/materials such as; paper, card, foam board, wood, metal and plastic. 

At the start of the course, learners will be given a D&T Knowledge Organiser book (which is also available on the HHS website). These books can be used throughout the year to revise for each end of unit assessment and the year 10 mock exam, which is sat at the end of the year to assess their knowledge and understanding. 

A part of the design process is examining ‘Existing Products’. Learners will explore a selection of past/current designers and analyse the products that they have produced and marketed. 

In year 11, our learners will focus on the Contextual Challenge (NEA). The exam board produces a selection of starting points for the students to use and then they will follow the design process to complete their Contextual Challenge project. All learners will be expected to design and make a product which will be assessed, moderated in school, and sampled externally by the exam board. The results of this will go towards the final GCSE D&T grade.

Learners will also be undertaking mini mock examinations to help with revision for their final exam in the summer. 

In Year 10, the units will be covered across the year and will be accompanied with a practical task. At the end of each unit the learners will complete an end of unit assessment. The Contextual Challenge (NEA) is published in June and the learners can begin analysing the design briefs before formally beginning their project in Year 11. For the 2019-2022 cohort the teaching lessons will be devoted to the Contextual Challenge and P7 will be compulsory for Unit refreshers.  

Rationale for Sequencing

Year 10

Autumn term

Year 10 begins with Unit 3. We have chosen this unit, as it is an excellent introduction to all the materials used across D&T. Alongside unit 3, the practical element will be making a box with 5 different wood joints complete with an accurate lid. This will be continued whilst completing Unit 5B, as Timber based Materials is our chosen specialist unit and ties in with the practical task. 

Spring term

Following will be Unit 2, to ensure that our learners understand a variety of knowledge regarding modern/smart materials, composite materials and technical textiles. This also includes comprehension of energy generation/storage, systems approach to designing, electronic systems processing and mechanical devices. This unit is one of the largest and can be difficult to understand all of the processes. Additionally, the practical element for Unit 2 is a LED hand held torch. 

Unit 1 - New & Emerging technologies, focusses on the business element of D&T. The topics covered are; Industry & Enterprise, Sustainability & Environment, People/Culture & Society, Production & Techniques and Informing Design Decisions. We feel it is important that this is covered before designing principles, as the above topics are generally considered early in the design process. The practical element of this will be to design and make a mobile phone holder. 

Unit 6 Designing Principles, covers the importance of; Investigating primary & secondary data, The work of others, various existing companies, design strategies and communication of design ideas. This unit shows our learners the prominence of looking at existing products, companies and various design strategies. 

Summer Term (NB* unit 6 will use some of Summer term to complete fully)

A major factor in design is the environment. Unit 4 - Ecological & social footprint focuses on, Forces and stresses, improving functionality, ecological & social footprint, the 6 R’s and scales of production, these are essential and may need to be included in their NEA.

Unit 7 Selection of materials & components, tolerances, material management, tools/equipment/techniques & finishes and surface treatments & finishes.


The learners of 2021-2022 will have one double lesson and must attend P7. The double lesson will be used to complete their controlled assessment and P7 will focus on revision. 

Autumn 1 - learners will complete AO1 of the Contextual Challenge which includes:

Choosing a brief, their chosen brief, research, product analysis, problems solutions, final design brief and a product design specification.

Autumn 2 - comprises of the AO2 element such as: Initial Designs, further research and product 

Elevations using technical drawing skills or CAD.

Spring 1 - contents continue with AO2 but looking at: potentials making/finishing processes and planning how they will be manufacturing their product identifying quality control measures. This is also the time that making can begin.

Spring 2 - focus is on AO3 where the learners will be: testing the design, complete a focus group survey, evaluate against the original specification, complete a final evaluation and explain how the product could be improved.  

Resources will be available for revision, which will take place in P7 and in lesson time when the Contextual Challenge is completed.



Unit overview - New & Emerging Technologies



Practical Skills:

  • To use the design process to produce a mobile phone holder using recycled materials and various production methods.
  • To ensure accuracy in marking, cutting and joining.

English skills:

  • To be able to articulate what you are going to make and research a variety of materials.
  • Respond creatively to briefs by generating and modelling ideas for products, drawing on their knowledge of materials and technologies.

Mathematics skills:

  • To be able to use cm’s and mm’s to create the dimensions of the prototype.

ICT skills:

  • Developing and communicating information.
  • Finding and selecting information.


Industry & Enterprise:

  • Automation in industry.
  • Use of bar codes and workflow planning.
  • Oil replacement technologies.
  • Innovation and use of new materials in products.
  • Dangers of 3D printing. 
  • Small business being able to compete in a global market with the use of new technologies.
  • Crowd funding, virtual marketing and augmented retail.
  • Co-operatives and fair trade.

Sustainability & the Environment:

  • Finite and non-finite resources.
  • Responsible design, waste disposal and Life Cycle Analysis of products.

People, Culture & Society:

  • Technology push/pull, fashion and trends.
  • Culture and society.

Production & Techniques:

  • Automation, Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture.
  • Computer Numeric Control, CNC laser cutters, ‘Lean Manufacturing’ and ‘Just In Time’

Informing Design Decisions:

  • Informing design decisions.
  • Planned obsolesce and disposability.
  • Design Maintenance and Specialist repairs.  
  • Swedish Case study.
  • Ethics and environment.
  • End of life.


Understanding the origins of resources and the impact they can have on the environment.

To comprehend the influence of technology and new materials in relation to the world that they live in. They will know the various styles of marketing which is used in today’s society, in particular, the use of algorithms that search engines use on the internet use when advertising products.

Various manufacturing techniques will be discussed and how products are disposed of once they come to the end of their life.

Unit overview - Timber based materials


Timber based materials


Practical Skills:

  • Use their understanding of others’ designing
  • Plan and organise activities and evaluate tools and equipment, solving technical problems when manufacturing.
  • Reflect critically and modify their ideas to improve their products.

English skills:

  • Present information and points of view clearly and in appropriate language, including discussions of unfamiliar subjects.

Mathematics skills:

  • Interpreting and communicating the results of the analysis.

ICT skills:

  • Finding and selecting information.
  • Analysing – processing and using mathematic equations.


Energy generation:

  • Fossil fuels, fracking, wind turbines, solar power, tidal energy, hydro energy and nuclear power.

Energy storage:

  • Potential and Kinetic energy.
  • Pneumatic, hydraulic, kinetic flywheels,

Modern materials:

  • Biodegradable polymers, PLC, Flexible MDF, titanium, fibre optics, graphene, LCD, Nano materials and metal foams.

Smart materials:

  • Self-healing polymers, self-healing concrete, thermos chromic pigments, photo-chromic particles, shape memory alloy and acid/ alkali testing.

Composite materials & technical textiles:

  • GRP/CRP, Gore-Tex, Conductive fabrics/threads, micro fibres, microencapsulation and flame resistant/retardant.

Systems approach to designing:

  • Electronic/sub/ closed-loop system, flowcharts, circuits and symbol’s and connecting inputs.

Electronic systems processing:

  • Digital verses Analogue, integrated circuits, microcontroller IC, programming a PIC, output components and Monostable/ Astable devices.

Mechanical devices:

  • Movement and motion, levers class one, two and three.
  • Equilibrium and linkages, reverse motion/parallel/bell crank linkages.
  • Rotary systems, types of cams and followers, Idle and train Gears, Pulleys and belts and block and tackle.


Being aware of forms of energy generation and storage, which are used to support our society.

Extend their knowledge of composite, modern and smart materials, which are used to improve products and therefore our lives.

To have a basic understanding of a variety of electronic processes/systems and how they are used in today products.

Know basic mechanical devices relating to motion and forces.

Unit overview - Materials and their working properties



English skills:

  • Speaking, listening and communication
  • Reading
  • Writing

ICT skills:

  • Using ICT.
  • Finding and selecting information.




Papers and Boards:

  • Paper making stages, weight and types of paper based materials.


  • Classifications of timber, common timbers, standardisation components timber and their uses.

Metals and Alloys:

  • Originals of metals, keywords relating to metal: ductility, malleable, hard, tough, tensile.
  • Classifications of metal and common metals their properties and uses.


  • Classification of plastic and their properties.
  • Moulding and forming.


  • Textile categories and types of weave.



Learners will have a wide breadth of understanding the origins, basic manufacturing, standardised materials/components, production methods and classifications of the above materials.

This will help influence the learner’s decision-making when designing and creating products.

Unit overview - Ecological & Social Foot print



Practical Skills:

  • Various testing of a variety of material samples.

English skills:

  • Speaking, listening and communication

Mathematics skills:

  • Recording findings

ICT skills:

  • Using ICT.
  • Finding and selecting information.


Forces and stresses

  • Tension, compression, torsion. Bending and shearing.

Improving functionality

  • Webbing, folding/bending, lamination and fabrication methods.

Ecological and social foot print

  • Deforestation, mining, drilling, atmospheric pollution, farming, product miles and oceanic pollution.

6 R’s

  • Refuse, rethink, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.

Scale of production.

  • One off production.
  • Batch production.
  • Mass production.
  • Continuous production.


This unit focuses on important content such as ecological implications of design. The 6 R’s support designers in making the correct decision, which will benefit eco-friendly design. Learners will understand the implications to the environment, if decision-making does not take heed of the damage that specific production methods and materials produce. We currently have data showing how the human race has already had a huge impact on planet Earth. Which has led to a change in design thinking. Much more needs to be achieved to ensure a healthier environment for humans and many other earth dwelling species.

Unit overview - Timber based materials


Timber based materials


Practical Skills:

  • Complete a box using a variety of joints and components.
  • Measure, mark and cut out accurately.
  • Learners will learn how to amend
  • Be able to prepare a wood-based material surface ready for a finish.
  • Apply a finish to a prepared piece of wood-based material.

English skills:

  • Speaking, listening and communication

Mathematics skills

  • Using mm’s to mark and measure out materials.

ICT skills:

  • Developing, presenting and communicating information.


Sources, Origins and Properties:

  • Processing involved in producing workable timber materials.
  • Reasons for seasoning wood.
  • The creation of manufactured boards and their pros/cons.
  • Sustainability awareness.

Working with Timber:

  • Standardise components and the reasons these are essential.
  • Various school based cutting, forming and processing techniques/equipment.

Manufacturing & Finishing:

  • Manufacturing processes of timber.
  • Preparation of wood and various surface treatments to enhance functionality and aesthetic properties.


Learners will understand where wood-based materials come from and their processes to make them usable to a consumer. They will understand the importance of the Forest Stewardship Council for conservation of woodlands. They will also have a deeper understanding of the illegal wood trade from economically challenge countries.

This understanding will support choices they make as adults and how they could have an impact on the can have an impact on the environment.

Unit overview - Design Principles



Practical Skills:

  • Practice forms of drawing communication.
  • Create 2/3 dimensional images of objects.

English skills:

  • Speaking, listening and communication.

Mathematics skills:

  • Interpreting and communicating the results of the analysis.

ICT skills:

  • Finding and selecting information.


Investigation, Primary and Secondary

  • Investigation and research.
  • Market research/ focus groups.
  • Product analysis, response to products, results, recording and presenting data clearly.
  • Ergonomics, anthropometric data and functional performance.
  • Design Brief, Specification, Manufacturing Specification, testing the design, modifying, environmental challenges and social/economic solutions.

Work of others

  • Investigating, analysing, evaluating work of others and why this is essential.
  • Harry Beck, Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, William Morris, Mary Quant, Vivienne Westwood, Marcel Breuer, Norman Foster, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Aldo Rossi, Gerrit Rietveld, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Raymond Templier, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Sir Alex Issigonis.
  • Design movements.


  • Alessi, Apple, Braun, Dyson, Gap, Primark, Under Armour and Zara.

Design Strategies

  • Collaboration, Systems and approach, iterative design and design fixation.
  • Sketching, Modelling, Testing and evaluation.

Communicating ideas

  • 2D/3D sketching, oblique, isometric projection, 1/2/3 point perspective, system diagrams, annotation, human proportions, exploded drawings and CAD.


Learners need to be able to research varies topics for adulthood. For instance being able to find out information of topics, which they wish to pursue in life.

If they wish to make a successful product, it is essential for them to understand the design process.

Part of the design process is to be able to analyse existing products and be able to research different design genres and designers.

Understanding design strategies illustrates the importance of collaborating in a team, and how these skills will support them in a future workplace.

It is essential for learners to have basic drawing skills as they need to be able to communicate their ideas so that they can make a prototype of their design. As adults, it may be necessary for learners to be able to communicate garden landscaping or a layout of a new kitchen/ bedroom etc.

Unit overview - Materials, Components and Finishes



English skills:

  • Speaking, listening and communication
  • Reading

Mathematics skills

  • Representing – selecting the mathematics and information required to model a situation.
  • Analysing – processing and using mathematics.
  • Interpreting and communicating the results of the analysis.

ICT skills:

  • Finding and selecting information.


Selection of Materials and components:

  • Material and component selection.


  • Tolerances and allowances.

Material management:

  • Tessellation, stock forms and SI units.
  • Marking out methods, production tools and datum points.

Tools, Equipment, Techniques and Finishes:

  • Tools/equipment, techniques and processes.
  • Health & safety risk assessments and Data sheets.
  • Specialist tools

Surface Treatments and Finishes:

  • Types of finishes and the benefits.
  • Application of various finishes.
  • VOCs


It is important for learners to select the correct materials for home use or when designing products.

Many people engage in DIY, and it is important for them to be able to mark, measure and cut out a variety of materials, using the appropriate health and safety guidance at all times.

It is fundamental for the learners to be able to recognise a variety of basic tools and equipment. This knowledge will support them throughout their lifetime, whether it be for home or work use.

Understanding what finishes are required for several materials is essential for promoting the longevity of products.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.