What does the course involve?
Design affects everything we do, every day. This course can be adapted to meet the various wide ranging interests of the students taking it. You are able to steer the work you do towards any one of a number of personal interests or career ambitions. You will look at how the world around you has evolved through recent historic developments in design, style and fashion and then actively evolve products of your own.
The specification encourages a broad approach towards design and this often leads to a varied and exciting range of final outcomes. Your creativity should be demonstrated through a varied range of materials, graphic media and CAD. You can work in any combination of materials including (but not limited to); woods, metals, plastics, paper and card, electronics, and textiles.
Skills you will develop along the way include; research, analysis and evaluation, creative thinking, problem solving, independence, organisation, time management and tenacity. The course is fast-paced and challenging and offers fantastic opportunities for aspiring designers.
How will you learn?
Your lessons will be split between theory and practical, in preparation for both your examination and NEA (non-exam assessment, previously called controlled assessment or coursework). You will be supported with regular feedback, however it is vital that you work independently and manage your time efficiently to meet deadlines.
What exams and coursework are involved?
Your final A Level grade will be 50% from your NEA and 50% from the examination, both of which take place during Year 13. Your final examination will consist of two separate written papers, 15% of the marks will be accredited towards the use and application of specific Mathematics and Science based skills. In Year 12 you will complete an NEA project, this will be based on a choice of contexts given by the exam board. It is advisable to design and make a range of products, using a variety of processes and materials, this experience should support and inform choices for your NEA in Year 13.
In Year 13 you will be able to direct your NEA towards an area of personal interest in preparation for application to a particular university course or desired career path. You will write your own context and brief, this is a great opportunity to pursue topics and materials that really interest you. Theoretical knowledge taught in preparation for the exam will also feed into your NEA project, developing the vital skills required to determine a feasible design; suitable materials and finish. You will study a wide range of topics including properties of different materials, manufacturing processes, anthropometrics and ergonomics, CAD/CAM, health & safety, sustainability, design protection, marketing, design movements.
What are the entry requirements?
All candidates must demonstrate the most important qualifications of commitment and interest. A*- B in a relevant GCSE Design and Technology subject is the desired entry requirement.
What could you do after completing the course?
A vast range of design related degree courses are currently available with some examples being: Product Design; Graphic Design; Textile Design; Furniture and Lighting Design; Architecture; Landscape; Interior, Animation etc. Increasingly more specialised courses such as BSc Sports Equipment Design, Theatre and Performance Design, Industrial Design, etc. are becoming popular. Allied with Science and Maths, Design Engineering is popular with girls and boys with a more technical mind. Civil; Electronic; Manufacturing; Mechanical; Nautical; Process; etc. offer further engineering opportunities.