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GCSE Design & Technology

Head of Department: Mr S Sarsfield

Examining Board: AQA

Subject code: 8552

Course content

The new GCSE AQA Design and Technology GCSE course is an exciting opportunity for pupils to use a wide range of processes and techniques in order to manufacture useful products that solve problems and enhances the lives of others.

The new exam is now worth the same marks as non-examined assessment (NEA). One D&T exam, worth 50 per cent, will replace the previous material-specific papers (worth 40 per cent). And while students will be able to select materials for certain questions, the entire breadth of D&T will be examined. A more balanced distribution of classroom time between exam preparation and NEA will thus be essential.

The new NEA contexts will be provided on June 1 in L5, meaning that a lot of the theory and essential practical skills will need to be learnt in the first two terms laying the foundations of knowledge and skills, to create independent problem-solvers who are ready to tackle the NEA in U5.

Exam boards will now provide “contexts”, such as: extending human capacity; improving living and working spaces; or securing the future, to which students will be encouraged to respond with freedom and creativity. It won’t be unheard of for 20 students to be simultaneously designing 20 different products.

The opportunity for the pupils to complete a large Controlled Assessment project will give them many valuable transferable skills that can be applied to other areas of the curriculum and beyond; identifying customer needs, researching, time management, planning, evaluating, prioritizing, use of ICT, as well as the designing and practical skills taught. This will stand pupils in good stead for the future whatever course of study they choose to study later on.

The course assessment

Unit 1: 2 hours examination (8552), 100 marks (50% of total marks)

Unit 2: approximately 45 hours Controlled Assessment Project (8552), 100 marks (50% of total marks)

The controlled assessment coursework module is completed during the two terms within the Upper 5 Year.