Design & Technology

Sustainability, innovation, practicality, developing excellence through enjoyable tasks are the central themes promoted by the ethos of the Design & Technology team at Pilton. We strive to create and provide learning experiences and environments that give students skills that reflect those required in society, and the ability to become confident learners who can evolve and respond to future challenges.


We consider Design and Technology to be at the heart of the curriculum where pupils can bring together and apply all their learning experiences in a practical setting.


Our course planning is founded on the belief that students learn most effectively by doing- producing practical solutions to design tasks. Schemes of work at KS3 and KS4 have a focus towards realisation of quality practical work that students own and take home, alongside the development of design skills.


Units of work, Grouping of students, assessment and expected standards

We offer pupils an exciting and stimulating range of subjects which cover Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Systems and Control and Textiles. In Year 7 and 8 pupils will learn in all five material areas, in Year 9 they can specialise in the areas where they have most interest. Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups in rotations so that through the course of the year they cover all of the Design & Technology subjects. Pupils Designing and Making skills are assessed in each subject area using National Curriculum levels.


Year 7 Units of work:


Design Brief: Design and make a healthy dish suitable for part of a family meal.

Students are encouraged to research healthy eating and study their own diet through computer analysis. They will then use basic recipes and develop them with their own ideas, learning skills and health and safety. Using the views and preferences of their family, students then choose their best idea to produce as their final product.



Design Brief: Design and make a pop up card for a special event.

In Year 7 pupils will develop their Graphics skills through three projects. These will include drawing skills, logo design, computer skills using Adobe Photoshop and 3D modelling.


Resistant Materials:

Design and Technology Resistant Materials enables pupils to design and make innovative quality products from wood, metal and plastic. The focus material for year 7 is plastic.

Design Brief: Design and make a room thermometer using Acrylic Vinyl and Thermo-Chromic strip.

Students are encouraged to research their Target Group’s requirements, produce a specification and creative designs ideas before moving on to model their final product. Once the model has been agreed the thermometer will be produced from Acrylic and Thermo-Chromic strip which is a ‘Smart Material’ using a range of hand tools and machines.


Systems & Control:

Design Brief: To design and make a mini torch light and produce the circuit for a fan driven boat.

Students will gain knowledge of basic electronics and plastics theory. They will also experience Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAD/CAM) for both the mini torch light and a programming exercise.



Design Brief: Design and make a screen printed cushion.

All students will experience different tools and equipment whilst working in this material area. This will include sewing machines, learning screen printing techniques and completing work on natural fibres, in particular cotton.

Year 8 Units of work:


Year 8 food helps to build on the basic skills that students learnt in year 7 but with the theme of Designing for the Community.

Students will be encouraged to produce a range of products from a list of recipes before designing and creating a meal for a teenager



Design Brief: Design and make a comic strip; design and make a 3D pet.

Year 8 Graphics will further develop skills from Year 7 through three projects. These will include 3D drawing techniques, computer skills using Google Sketch Up and 3D modelling.


Resistant Materials:

The focus material for Year 8 is wood; pupils will use Pine, MDF and Plywood.

Design Brief: Design and make a Money Box suitable for the Teenage sector of the market, which includes a mechanism so it is interesting to use.

Students will learn the differences between softwoods, hardwoods and man-made boards. They will research existing products and a theme suitable for teenagers that they wish to base their design work around. Once designed, the students will produce their final product using a range of hand tools and processes.


Systems & Control:

In Year 8 Design and Technology, Systems & Control enables pupils to design and make a quality product using the core technology of electronics.

Design Brief: To design and make a Steady Hand Game making full use of a latch circuit.

Increasing their knowledge of electronics, the pupils will populate a Printed Circuit Board (PCB), which will make use of a Latch Circuit and a special component called a Thyristor. The circuit is then used to produce a Steady Hand Game.



Design Brief: Design and make a draw string backpack.

Building on skills learnt in Year 7, pupils design and make a simple draw string back pack with an appliqué design. They learn to use the over locker and have the opportunity to use mechanical machine embroidery. They complete work on synthetic fibres, including understanding care labelling in clothing.

Year 9 Units of work:

In Year 9 students are able to specialise in the three Design & Technology subjects that they have the most interest in, they spend a term following each subject. Students can choose from Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Systems and Control, and Textiles. They learn a lot of the background knowledge and skills which will prepare them effectively for GCSE or BTEC courses in Year 10 and 11.



Within the course students will be introduced to GCSE Catering and the skills required to start the course with confidence. Pupils will make five products and choose one to develop further. The final product will be served restaurant style therefore students will be required to think about the design aspect.



In Year 9 Graphics, pupils work on three design briefs. The board game project focuses on producing a graphic product on the computer using TechSoft 2D Design. Designing and developing a chocolate bar re-introduces students to Adobe Photoshop and Google Sketch Up. Both of these projects allow the students to expand on their drawing skills and transfer their designs into our CAD/CAM packages. The final project encourages pupils to improve their modelling skills by creating paper mechanisms. They will incorporate these into their design work to produce an educational poster.


Resistant Materials:

In Year 9 students get the opportunity to work in all three of the key Resistant Materials which are wood, metal and plastic. The course will give students an introduction to GCSE Resistant Materials/BTEC Construction and give them a solid foundation for Year 10 and 11. The wood and metal based project allows students to construct a photo frame which has a different wood joint on each corner. A metal stand is also produced to allow the photo frame to be free standing. The plastics project enables students to design, develop and make a mobile phone/iPod holder from Acrylic. The Acrylic is cut to shape and then heated and shaped to an interesting 3D shape.


Systems and Control:

Students focus on designing and making a MP3 mono speaker system which can be connected to mobile phones or MP3 players, so they can listen to their music while they are doing their homework. They construct a casing for all the electrical components and speaker to be fitted into. A Printed Circuit Board with all the electronic components soldered onto it is also constructed.



In Year 9 students are taught a range of techniques and will make either a simple skirt or pair of shorts and decorate a co-ordinating top. Extension work may involve the production of a range of accessories.

The Examination Years

Units of work, Grouping of students, assessment and expected standards

The Design and Technology Department is very proud of the outstanding GCSE and BTEC results that our students achieve. Students are taught in mixed ability classes and are continually assessed throughout the 3 year courses so progress towards individual student target grades can be carefully monitored.

All of the courses we offer are suitable for highly able gifted and talented students and also those of lower ability as courses are carefully planned to ensure opportunities for success for all students whatever their ability. The courses we offer enable students to progress onto a wide range of courses, careers or apprenticeships post 16. They also provide them with many essential skills for life.


Courses we offer:

• BTEC Construction: This subject is an ideal course for students who are considering a career in the Construction/Building industry. Students will follow 6 units which are: the structure of the construction industry, exploring health, safety and welfare in construction, carpentry and joinery, trowel operations, painting and decorating, building services and techniques in construction.


• GCSE Catering: WJEC Catering offers a unique opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and extend their skills within hospitality and catering in a vocational context. It is a suitable qualification for those who want a broad background in this area and for those who wish to progress to further education. It will offer valuable preparation for those entering the world of work. The subject encourages the investigation and study of hospitality and catering in a variety of contexts and uses a range of assessment techniques to enable students to respond through practical and investigative work.


• GCSE Graphic Products: AQA GCSE Graphics is a mainly design based course that includes practical involving non-resistant materials (paper, card, modelling foam etc.) In Year 10, students will complete short projects that will teach them about colour rendering and drawing techniques. They will work with design packages that include Adobe Photoshop, 2D Design, Google Sketch Up and CAD/CAM to create nets, develop ideas and make card or paper mechanisms. The summer term will see the introduction of their Controlled Assessment Major Project that contributes to a significant part of their final grade. This will take until February in Year 11 to complete and will be of their own choosing within exam board guidelines. The final exam is in the summer term of Year 11.


• GCSE Resistant Materials: AQA GCSE Resistant Materials is a predominantly practical based course which allows students to design and make quality real products from wood, metal and plastic. In Year 10 students complete several minor projects which develop skills they will need for their Major Project. This includes wood joints, welding, using a Router, Biscuit joint cutter, marking out, cutting and joining wood, metal and plastic and CAD/CAM. In the summer term students start their Controlled Assessment Major Project which gives them a significant part of their final GCSE grade. The product they choose to design and make is their own choice but it must be within the exam board guidelines. This will take until February ½ term in Year 11 to complete. In Year 11, students will make their quality product and continue with their design folio. The final exam is in the summer term of Year 11.


• GCSE Systems and Control: AQA GCSE Systems and Control enables students to learn how to use various materials, components, processes, techniques and industrial practices. They will design and make quality products using electronic components, electronic building blocks, logic, PIC’s and Microprocessor control, construction techniques and mechanisms. In Year 10 students will complete several smaller projects to develop skills in these areas and then in the summer term start their Controlled Assessment Major Project which will be completed in February of Year 11. The final exam is in the summer term of Year 11.


• GCSE Textiles: AQA GCSE Textiles introduces students to a range of decorative and construction techniques, building on skills learnt at Key Stage 3. They complete an interior design project, with the practical outcome being a cushion, and a fashion project with the outcome being a bag. Throughout Year 10, they will practice the skills needed to complete coursework and build up a folder of samples and theory work which will be used for revision in Year 11. At the end of Year 10, they select a design brief for their major project, which will form a significant part of their final grade, and will begin work on this before the summer break. In Year 11 students work on their major projects, both the coursework folder and practical outcome continue throughout the first two terms. All work is completed by Easter, when it is marked. Alongside this, pupils prepare for a mock exam and continue to study the theory needed for the written exam.


Home Learning Opportunities

The Design and Technology Department recognises the importance of regularly setting homework. Tasks that are set will reinforce, extend and support the learning that is taking place at school. These tasks will vary across the Design and Technology subjects but could involve students researching, designing, developing ideas, learning technological vocabulary, planning, modelling, revising key terms, completing examination type questions.


Some students do find it difficult to complete homework at home; this is a fact of life! To support these students we run homework clubs at lunchtime for both Key Stage 3 and 4 on two separate days. Students have access to a Design and Technology teacher, computers, printers and whatever other resources or help they need to complete their homework tasks. The staff in the Library are also always on hand if extra support is needed.


Key Stage 3: In Year 7, 8 and 9 students will be set homework each week. This will usually be handed in the following week and should take between 30-45 minutes to complete. Sometimes an extended piece of work may be set over a longer period of time, for example over a 2 week period which should take around 60 minutes to complete.


Key Stage 4: In Year 10 and 11 homework is also set each week, however it is expected students should spent 60 minutes on each task. As at Key Stage 3, it will usually need to be handed in the following week but occasionally extended tasks over a longer period of time may well be set. If this is the case, an equivalent amount of time of 60 minutes per week should be spent on the task.


Gifted & Talented Opportunities

From time to time we are fortunate to welcome truly gifted and talented students into the Design and Technology Department who have a high level of skill in both designing and making in all areas of our curriculum. This is quite unusual, it is more likely that students will be gifted and talented in a particular area of the subject such as designing or making in one or two material areas.


We use our assessments to identify our gifted and talented students and add their names to the central records, we support, set targets for and monitor our gifted and talented pupils in Design and Technology. All schemes of work within the department are differentiated for mixed abilities so the most able can be stretched and challenged within normal lessons.


We have many gifted and talented students often taking more than one of our GCSE subjects. To ensure that they are able to attain an ‘A’ or ‘A*’ grade, subject teachers make sure that the Controlled Assessment design and make task they choose is geared to pupil ability. We encourage our most talented designers to push themselves further through more challenging and demanding projects.


There are various activities throughout the year which our gifted and talented students can opt into. Textiles Club runs every week where students are able to design and make products of their own choice. The workshops are often available after school and at lunchtimes to students who want to come in and make something for themselves. Recently we sent two of our highest achieving Year 8 pupils to Braunton School for a gifted and talented day where they investigated flight; they also designed and produced rockets.


Respect  * Responsibility *  Resilience * Trust *  Kindness *  Courage

A specialist language college

Pilton Community College, Chaddiford Lane, Barnstaple, Devon  EX31 1RB.  01271 374381  email: