King James' School

Design & Technology: Product Design

What’s it all about? 

This course is an introduction to the world of product design, an industry which increasingly has more and more impact upon our daily lives.  From the electronic devices with which we interface to the vehicles that transport us, the buildings that protect us and the systems and products that make our lives safer, healthier and happier - both now and in the future. 

While design & technology is concerned with meeting human needs through the application of scientific and other forms of knowledge, the course aims to stimulate students’ creativity through innovation, problem-solving, design, development and realisation.  Subject knowledge is not therefore acquired for its own sake, but to aid the process of finding tangible solutions to problems which arise in everyday life in an industrial and commercial context. We simply ask the questions: What should we do?  Why should we do it?  How should we do it? 

We have an outstanding team of staff delivering the course who, through their own specialisms and experiences, bring the correct balance of skill and technological know-how within an inclusive and supportive environment.  In short, we go the extra mile for our A-level students.  

As a school we are technology-rich and have an abundance of CAD (Solidworks; Corel Draw; Adobe Illustrator/ Photoshop; Boxford Design Tools) and CAM (3D-Printer; CNC lathe; miller; laser-cutter; plotter-cutter) at our disposal.  To enhance this we have strong industry and university links which give us access to Waterjet and Abrasivejet cutting as well as CNC routing. 

Exam and Assessment Information:


AS and A Level Subject Content

1. Core technical principles

2. Core designing and making principles

3. Additional specialist knowledge

 AS Assessments

 Paper 1 : Written exam: 2 hours, 80 marks, 50% of AS

 Non-exam assessment (NEA) : 35 hours, 80 marks, 50% of AS

 Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles and specialist knowledge.

How it´s assessed: single design and make project. Context set by AQA.

 A Level Assessments

 Paper 1 : Written exam: 2 hours, 100 marks, 25% of A-Level

 Paper 2 : Written exam: 2 hours, 25% of A-Level

 Non-exam assessment (NEA) : 45 hours, 100 marks, 50% of A-level

 Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles and specialist knowledge: substantial design and make task.

To get started: 

A grade C or above in GCSE Product Design, Resistant Materials, Engineering or Graphic products is requisite to access the course fully.  You will also need to show commitment in meeting frequent deadlines to produce an extensive design portfolio and be willing to work beyond the four hours of lesson-time in order to fully access the facilities at your disposal.

What next? 

There is no better time to think about a career in the field of design, and it has always been the British who lead the field in numerous areas.  Designers such as Sir Jonathan Ive (Apple), James Dyson (product design), Norman Foster (architecture), Richard Seymour & Dick Powell (product design) and Ian Callum (automotive) to name but a few.  This A level course will set the foundations for further study at university within a range of specialist areas namely: product; automotive; industrial; engineering; architectural; interior and ergonomic design.

Our students say … 

The course has given me a great sense of achievement when taking a design through to the functioning realisation of a working product.  Staff are exceptional in their support whose expertise, enthusiasm and approachability allow you to maximise your outcomes throughout the course.  I have thoroughly enjoyed studying this A-Level and would highly recommend it to any student wanting to explore their creativity.”  Abi Hatch 

“Product Design has encouraged me to become more independent and flexible in my approach to my design work.  I have enjoyed the aspect of seeing my ideas developed into real-life products from start to finish and becoming more skilled in a wide range of areas. These include: sketching and rendering; use of machines and processes; programming of CNC equipment; working in a range of material areas and ICT and 3D virtual prototyping.  I highly recommend this course.”  Max Bridge

Design & Technology: Product Design

Design & Technology: Product Design