KS5 DT Engineering

Key Stage 5

Design Engineering

OCR A Level D&T: Design Engineering (H404)   (New for 2020-21 in Abbey Grange)

Design Engineering is focused towards engineered and electronic products and systems; the analysis of these in respect of function, operation, components and materials, in order to understand their application and uses in engineered products/systems that have commercial viability.

The content covers the following topic areas:

  • Identifying requirements
  • Learning from existing products and practice
  • Implications of wider issues
  • Design thinking and communication
  • Material and component considerations
  • Technical understanding
  • Manufacturing processes and techniques
  • Viability of design solutions
  • Health and safety.

For a number of these principles, mathematical and/or scientific knowledge is also required; this is indicated in the specification.

 The assessment for this qualification is made up of these three components.

Component 01: Principles of Design Engineering(Examination – 1 hr 30 mins – 26.7% weighting)


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

Component 02: Problem solving in Design Engineering (Examination – 1 hr 45 mins – 23.3% weighting)


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

Component 03: Iterative design project(Non-exam assessment – approx. 65 hrs – 50% weighting)

Central to this non-examined assessment is the requirement for students to understand and apply processes of iterative designing in their design and technology practice: exploring needs, creating solutions and evaluating how well the needs have been met.

Students identify an engaging and challenging context of their own choice that offers design opportunity or problem to respond to in the development of a design solution. They create a chronological portfolio of evidence in real-time as they design, make and evaluate the project according to the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate.

Why choose Design Engineering?

Design Engineering is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. During the two year course, you will study: a range of materials; mechanical, electronic & structural components and systems;design communication through sketching and computer aided design; prototyping and commercial manufacturing processes. 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 how design can affect 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. We encourage freedom in approaches towards designing and making so as not to limit the possibilities of project work or the materials and processes being used.


It is highly desirable that you have studied Engineering or D&T at GCSE and have achieved good grades in it, along with Maths and Science.

Successfully completing this course will then give you the skills and qualification to help progress on to university or an apprenticeship in any of the many design engineering fields.

For further details from the exam board– OCR use this link:


When there, the course details to focus on are “A Level”, “Design Engineering”, “H404”. You can explore the A Level Specification, exemplar assessment materials – exam papers and candidates’ NEAwork.

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Abbey Grange C of E Academy

Butcher Hill
LS16 5EA

Tel: 0113 275 7877
Fax: 0113 275 4784

Registered Office:

Abbey Multi Academy Trust
c/o Chapter House
Abbey Grange Church of England Academy
Butcher Hill
LS16 5EA
Registered Company Number: 07705552

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