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Product Design A Level at Wallingford School

Course description

Product Design is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. The exam board (OCR) has worked closely with Higher Education and industry to ensure that the direction of the qualification supports progression beyond A level.

There has also been a focus on ensuring the content reflects authentic practice, giving an insight into the way that creative, engineering and/or manufacturing industries function. The course will require you to apply mathematical and scientific knowledge, understanding and skills and reflects the importance of Design and Technology as a pivotal STEM subject.

Materials and components are studied from the perspective of analysing modern consumer products that are designed to meet identified consumer needs, their design and manufacture, and taught within the context of product development and industrial and commercial practices. The wider issues affecting design decisions are also covered.

You will gain skills including the planning and organisation of time and resources when managing a project. You will build and develop on your knowledge and understanding from GCSE whilst also having the freedom to focus in more depth on areas of design and technology that most interests you. This allows access to a range of future career
aspirations in the design and engineering industries, leading to future careers in product design, engineering, architecture, fashion and graphic design.

Course content

During the two year course you will study a range of materials. You will develop a technical understanding of how products function and how they are made to appropriately support the design and manufacture of your own design solutions. You will learn about wider design principles and the effect of design on users and the world we live in. You will identify market needs and opportunities for new products, initiate and develop design solutions, and make and test prototypes/products. You will develop your subject knowledge, including how a product can be developed through the
stages of prototyping, realisation and commercial manufacture. You will develop a critical mind through enquiry and problem solving, exploration, creation and evaluation of iterative designs. OCR encourages freedom in approaches towards designing and making so as not to limit the possibilities of project work or the materials and processes being used.

Entry requirements

Students should have a GCSE grade B or 6 in the subject they are looking to study at Sixth Form. The exceptions are A levels that have not been taken at GCSE level (e.g. Psychology; Media Studies; Sociology). For these courses we will use the most appropriate GCSE qualification to make a decision. For example, GCSE Maths grade 6 to study Psychology and English Language grade 6 to study Media Studies and Sociology.


1. A non-examined ‘Iterative Design Project’ is a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate. It is worth 50% of the A Level qualification. You will be required to identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of your own choice, and create a chronological portfolio supported by real–time evidence of your project development. Innovative approaches will be required resulting in a final prototype that can be tested against the user and the market.
2. The Principles examination paper is worth 25% of the A Level qualification and assesses analysis of existing products, technical knowledge and understanding of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques and allows you to demonstrate your understanding of design thinking and wider social, moral and
environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries. The paper is 1 hour 30 minutes long.
3. The ‘Unseen Challenge’ is worth 25% of the A Level qualification and focuses on the application your knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products through a set design task, then reflecting on your design solution in relation to wider factors and other theoretical knowledge. The paper is 2 hour 30 minutes long.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 December 2017

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