Accessibility links

Product Design at Elliott Hudson College

Course description

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers, especially those in the creative industries.

They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning into practice by producing prototypes of their choice.

Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.

Course content

The subject content for A Level Product Design is divided into three components:

Paper 1- Technical Principles

Students will explore different materials such as wood, plastic, metal, composites, ceramics and glass. They will learn about the characteristics of the different materials and their applications. Through the study and practical investigation of a variety of products, students will assess appropriate methods of enhancement, finishes and forming.

Students will study modern manufacturing and commercial practice. They will develop the ability to discuss a variety of modern manufacturing methods and ideas, including the use of computer programmes and ICT, marketing and communication, and Health and Safety. They will also explore product life cycles, safety for workers and consumers, inclusive design and intellectual property rights, in order to become experts in product development and improvement.

Paper 2 – Designing and making principles

Students will draw on and apply the range of skills and knowledge acquired from studying technical principles to inform their decisions in design, and the application or development of technology.

Students will explore social, moral and ethical issues in product development with a focus on responsible design. Students will look in detail at national and international standards for product design and look at how culture and technology impacts change in design. For example, they will study how the British Standards Institute ensures the safety of electrical consumer products like hedge trimmers, or how a change in legislation has affected washing machine design.


Students will undertake a practical project to develop a prototype for a product, using the knowledge developed whilst studying for Paper 1 and 2. Students will be working with a real client answering a live brief. They could be creating a product to assist a person with a physical disability, or adapting a product to make it accessible for an elderly person. They could look at creating a collection box to help raise funds for a charity, or a toy for a child to interact with. Students will be responsible for project management, research and development, testing and manufacture along with quality assurance and quality control. Students will develop their analysis and evaluative skills in order to make feasible modification suggestions and record the evolution of their ideas in an A3 portfolio, including photographic evidence of their final prototype.

Entry requirements

Attain 5 or more standard GCSE passes (grade 4 or higher).

If a student is applying for an A Level course that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that a student would attain at least a standard pass (grade 4) in this subject.


Paper 1

Written exam: 2.5 hours

120 marks

30% of A-level

Questions: Mixture of short answer and extended response questions

Paper 2

Written exam: 1.5 hours

80 marks

20% of A-level

Questions: Mixture of short answer and extended response questions

Section A: Product Analysis: 30 marks Up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s)

Section B: Commercial manufacture: 50 marks Mixture of short and extended response questions

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

• Substantial design and make task

• 100 marks

• 50% of A-level

Evidence: Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Financial information

Elliott Hudson College will not charge fees for tuition or examination entry (except for re-sits, where attendance is unsatisfactory or coursework is incomplete). There are no charges for course materials, although students are expected to provide their own stationery and any specialist clothing /equipment. Course books may be bought from subject teachers however subjects will also loan textbooks to students in return for a deposit. In the case of field trips, a contribution from the student to cover board and lodging, but excluding tuition and travel, will be expected. Some optional activities (e.g. enrichment, theatre trips, exchange visits, etc.) may have an associated cost; this will be notified in advance of the event.

Some applicants might not be supported by government funding for education (e.g. non-UK or EU passport holders recently arrived in the area): in these cases we do reserve the right to charge full fees for the course.

If your family is on a low income or you encounter any financial difficulties in special circumstances, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the college’s Student Bursary Fund.

Future opportunities

Students will develop confidence and a real understanding of what it means to be a designer. Students’ creativity and organisational, communication and presentation skills will allow them to access a wide range of higher education courses and careers such as: design and development engineer, ergonomist, product developer, CAD Designer and architectural designer.

Further information

Detailed information about Elliott Hudson College can be found on the college’s website


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 09 October 2017
Provider logo

Key information

  • Start date: Next September