A Level Design and Technology

Head of Department: Miss AM Healy BA (Hons), PGCE (Luton)
Email: ahealy@stedmundscollege.org



Unit 1 – Materials, Components and Application
In Rhetoric I candidates should develop an understanding of the physical and mechanical properties of a broad range of materials and components. They should understand why these are used in specific applications with particular emphasis on the lifecycle of products including manufacture, use and disposal. Through study and first-hand experience in practical project work, candidates will also develop knowledge of the health and safety issues relevant to working with materials.

In addition, candidates should begin to develop knowledge and understanding of the broader issues for the designer such as environmental sustainability of products and their manufacture, ergonomics and anthropometries, inclusive design and consumer safety.

Unit 2 – Learning Through Designing and Making
Coursework may take a number of forms: a simple design-and-make project, two smaller projects or a portfolio of work. There is the opportunity for students to use CAD/CAM resources.


Unit 3 – Design and Manufacture
There is an expectation that candidates will have a knowledge and understanding of Materials and Components, gained as a result of studying the subject content in Rhetoric I and having developed this through their coursework at Unit 2.  In Rhetoric II this knowledge and understanding will be developed through Unit 4 coursework and a further study of how materials and components play a major part in:

  • Design and Market Influences – for example, the evolution, selection and application of materials for the manufacture of modern products. How the use and conservation of both energy and raw materials affect the selection and application of materials for the production and function of products today.
  • Processes and Manufacture – for instance, the application of materials and components to suit specific production processes, from one-off to mass production.

Unit 4 – Design and Making Practice
Written (or electronic) design folder and manufactured outcome. Candidates submit evidence of a substantial designing and making activity.


Coursework units 2 and 4 are substantial design and make projects where knowledge of the subject content is applied to a client based project of the students’ choice. It will seek to develop existing and new skills by the use of a range of materials and manufacturing processes.

The design work involves detailed primary and secondary research leading to a product specification which then allows the student to propose a range of ideas that culminate in a chosen design. Detailed development then follows which includes the use of 3D CAD software and planning the sequence of manufacture leading the making of a high quality outcome. A thorough evaluation of the complete product is then made
including the views of the client and others.

Throughout the units a range of presentational techniques are employed to produce the accompanying design folder. In Unit 4 students are encouraged, where possible; to choose a project that complements their chosen career area. They can, for example, be engineering based or lay more emphasis on product design or creative 3D design.

Key skills
  • An interest in practical work
  • Creativity
  • Independent learning
  • Initiative
  • Problem solving
Enrichment opportunities
  • Rotary Technology Tournaments
  • Work experience placements
Higher education and career prospects

Product Design can lead to a Foundation or Degree course in a range of design disciplines and is beneficial to those who intend to pursue a career in architecture, industrial design, automotive design or engineering.