Exam Board Subject Leader
AQA Mr I Garrod

Design and Technology is a practical subject area which requires the application of knowledge and understanding when developing ideas, planning, producing products and evaluating them. The distinction between Designing and Making is a convenient one to make, but in practice the two often merge. For example, research can involve not only investigating printed matter and people’s opinions, but also investigating e.g. proportions, adhesives, colour, structures and materials through practical work. 

This specification has been designed to encourage candidates to be able to design and make products with creativity and originality, using a range of materials and techniques. Candidates will be enthused and challenged by the range of practical activities possible. A working knowledge of woods, metals, plastics and composite materials will be required, but other materials may be used in addition. The use of new technologies is encouraged in this specification. The new specification is designed to foster awareness amongst candidates, of the need to consider sustainability and environmental impact of their designing.  

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise. The GCSE allows students to study core technical and designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques and equipment. They will also have the opportunity to study specialist technical principles in greater depth. 



This qualification has two main components and is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

  • Paper 1

    Paper 1 is a written exam of 2 hours in length and is worth 100 marks, which will form 50% of GCSE. It is made up of the following elements:

    • Core technical principles.
    • Specialist technical principles.
    • Designing and making principles.

    In addition, at least 15% of the exam will assess maths and at least 10% of the exam will assess science. The paper is split into three sections:

    • Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks) A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.  
    • Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks) Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.  
    • Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks) A mixture of short answer and extended response questions 
  • Paper 2: Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)
    The Non-exam assessment (NEA) is a portfolio based exercise of approximately 30–35 hours. It has a maximum of 100 marks and forms 50% of GCSE. Studes work through the design process and use iterative design to develop ideas. 


Skills and Commitment

The GCSE will set out the knowledge, understanding and skills required to undertake the iterative design process of exploring, creating and evaluating. The majority of the specification will be delivered through the practical application of this knowledge and understanding based around themes. Students will be expected to spend some of their study time in the DT department in addition to their timetabled classes.