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Design Technology: Product Design (3-D Design) at Spalding High School

Course description

Students very much enjoy design technology, combining practical skills with creative thinking, to design and make high quality products. They learn to use current technologies and consider the impact of future developments. Understanding the principals of good design, materials and construction gives us more appreciation of our surroundings. Design technology allows us to take risks, often making mistakes, and shows us how to justify our decisions and cope with the consequences. It allows us a window to see into the future. Students prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems we do not yet know are problems. This vibrant course provides a good mix of designing and manufacturing and of studying the associated concept theories.


Students must have an interest in the aesthetical and physical make up of their surroundings, be prepared to use tools and machinery, have the ability to communicate ideas both orally and graphically, and importantly they must have a desire for quality in their work. Self motivation is vital during project work where candidates are encouraged to set their own pace.

Course content


Unit 1- Materials and components:

Polymers, biodegradable polymers, elastomers, natural woods, man made boards, laminates, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, alloys, composites, compliant materials, smart materials, modern materials, product components, adhesives design and market influences environmental/ sustainability issues, ergonomics and anthropometrics, inclusive design, to consumer safety.

Processes and manufacture:

Fabrication methods (e.g. traditional wood joining methods, welding), forming methods (e.g. steam bending, drop forging), redistribution methods (e.g. casting, injection moulding, 3D printing) wasting processes (e.g. drilling, milling), CAM processing (CNC machinery in 2D and 3D), finishing materials and processes, health and safety, quality control.

Unit 2- Learning through designing and making

Project coursework broken down into: investigation and clarification of problems, development of design proposal, making/ modelling, evaluation and testing, communication and presentation. Although some manufacturing material is provided, students may need to source some materials themselves.


A hands-on approach is adopted wherever possible. The coursework project is led by the tutor; however, students are managed to work as independently as possible. The theory content will be mainly delivered to the whole class within the laboratory environment to allow for physical demonstration wherever possible. A wide range of teaching methods are used encouraging class discussion, team work and peer learning. Teaching is usually shared between two members of staff providing a range of styles and expertise.

Entry requirements

To achieve at least 6 grades, A* to C, at GCSE, including English language and mathematics.

At least a grade B in a workshop-based DT course at GCSE level, the most relevant being in product design, resistant materials or graphic products.

Students are required to have a reference/report which clearly shows that they are suitable to undertake academic studies at A Level standard.



Unit 1: 50% of AS (25% of A Level): 2 hour written paper containing a mixture of compulsory questions and questions from a choice, in varying length of required response.

Unit 2: Coursework: approximately 50 hours: written (or electronic) design folder and manufactured outcome, assessed within school and moderated by the examination board.

Future opportunities


Previously students went on to study a wide range from aerospace engineering, astronautics and space technology to furniture and product design.

Other relevant courses include: aeronautical engineering, animatronics, architecture, automotive design, building conservation, computer-aided design, disaster management, electronic product design, energy efficiency, engineering for third world development, ergonomics, furniture, industrial design, manufacturing management, marketing, medical product design, model making, motorsport engineering, naval architecture, packaging, printing, product performance and safety, quality management, security technology, sports technology, sustainable design, teaching, virtual reality etc.

Students have also gone on to study a wide range of non-related subjects, including at Oxbridge, and have valued the diverse set of transferable skills that this A Level teaches.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Spalding High School directly.

Last updated date: 03 December 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years