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Design Technology: Product Design

Subject leader and contact

Jess Ciantar : Acting Head of DT


A-level Design and Technology: Product Design

OCR - H406

Entry Requirements

6 in DT (if taken at GCSE)

Why study Design Technology: Product Design?

Design and Technology is a captivating discipline that offers both inspiration and practicality, fostering growth beyond the A level stage. By engaging in this subject, students will acquire a diverse set of skills applicable to a wide array of careers, further studies in design or engineering, and even personal development, as it enhances decision-making abilities such as time and resource management when undertaking projects.
Over the span of two years, this course explores the broader principles of design and its impact on users and the world around us. Through comprehensive study, students will familiarise themselves with various materials, cultivating a technical understanding of product functionality and the manufacturing processes necessary to support the creation of their own design solutions.
Furthermore, they will learn to identify market demands and potential opportunities for innovative products. They will take the initiative to develop design solutions, making and testing prototypes/products. Throughout this journey, their knowledge base will expand, encompassing the progressive stages of prototyping, realisation, and commercial production.
Encouraging a critical mindset, this course promotes inquiry, problem-solving, exploration, and evaluation of iterative designs. The OCR exam board emphasises freedom in approaches to designing and making, ensuring that project work is not hindered and that materials and processes remain open to diverse possibilities.
Note that an essential aspect of this subject involves the application of mathematical and scientific knowledge, showcasing the integral role of Design and Technology as a pivotal STEM discipline.

Where can it lead?

This course provides an excellent foundation for students aspiring to study the world of design and its interconnected subjects, including engineering, architecture, fashion, and many more. Opting for this course not only opens doors to further study in these domains but also presents an invaluable chance to nurture creativity, foster critical thinking, and cultivate problem-solving skills. These qualities hold tremendous significance in our modern society, being essential attributes for success in any chosen career path.

DT Extras

Students at all stages of their education are encouraged to utilise the department's computer and workshop facilities outside of school hours. This opportunity allows them to pursue personal projects, enhance specific skills or areas of interest, as well as improve, develop, and refine class assignments or coursework tasks. We will also offer trips to places of interest such as museums, local companies, and manufacture businesses. Students will have further opportunities to enter external competitions, apply for the Arkwright scholarship, attend talks from universities and professionals as well as build contacts with local companies and designers.

Course Content

The Product Design course places its emphasis on consumer products and their practical applications. It challenges students to harness their creativity and employ an iterative design process to tackle problems and conceive everyday marketable products. 
Throughout the course, students will explore materials, components, processes, usability, and function, all of which are integral aspects of the design process. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of commercial design practices, enabling them to navigate the world of practical design with confidence.

Components of the course:

26.7% EXAM : Principles of Product Design (1h30min)

  • Analyse existing products
  • Demonstrate applied mathematical skills
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques
  • Undertake case studies to demonstrate understanding of wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries.

23.3% EXAM : Problem solving in Product Design (1h45min)

  • Apply knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products to given situations and problems
  • Demonstrate higher thinking skills to solve problems and evaluate situations and suitability of design solutions.

50% Non-exam Assessment : Iterative design project (Approx. 65 hours)
This significant design project focuses on the iterative processes of exploration, creation, and evaluation. Students are expected to understand and apply these iterative design processes in their design and technology practice : exploring needs, creating solutions, and evaluating how well the needs have been met.

Students are required to identify a design opportunity or problem within a context of their choice. They will then create a portfolio supported by real-time evidence, showcasing the development of their projects. The successful completion of this calls for innovative approaches that result in a final prototype, subject to testing against user feedback and market demands.
This segment of the course heavily relies on independent work, a genuine interest in developing personal skills, and immersive research and investigations to ensure a comprehensive iterative design process is achieved.