DT Materials

The D&T department offers students the opportunity to design and make their own products in a range of different materials using a variety of tools and equipment. Students study theory and develop their making skills through lots of interesting practical work. It is also an opportunity for them to apply the knowledge and techniques that they have developed in other core subjects into designing and developing practical solutions. Students analyse existing products to enhance their own designing. We are keen that students develop their ability to plan projects and present their work with clarity and impact. Our aim is that students enjoy highly productive lessons where they get to design and make quality products that they are proud to take home.

Key Stage 3

What does the Design and Technology Curriculum at Abbey Grange Academy aim to develop at key stage 3?

We concentrate on the students’ ability to be creative, independent problem solvers by developing their skills in a number of disciplines. We integrate challenge into all our lessons and give students the chance to demonstrate creativity and flare. The use of iPads is highly integrated into our projects to encourage computer confidence and research skills. Throughout students will also experience a wide range practical Design and make assignments over the course of KS3.

The student projects are:

  • Inspiring and challenging for all.
  • Follow the iterative design process linked to real world we live in.
  • Varied in their approach to iterative design and make skills.
  • A fantastic way to develop practical workshop skills and confidence in different disciplines within the Design and Technology family of subjects.

How do the students get taught different disciplines?

We deliver a spiral curriculum which rotates pupils between each of the main areas of Design and Technology over the course of the three terms. Staff members teach all disciplines within the year to keep consistency for all their classes. Pupils are assessed throughout the term to provide chance for growth in the subject across each subject area.

We cover projects in:

  • Resistant Materials
  • Product Design
  • Computer Aided Design
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design
  • Systems and Control
  • Textiles

The projects vary throughout Key Stage 3 to ensure progress of skills from the start of year 7 through to the end of year 8, as some students move onto G.C.S.E in year 9.

Design and Technology Aims and Intentions:

  • To introduce students to a variety of learning experiences within Design which encourage the development of skills in a variety of practical, theoretical and computer based applications.
  • To encourage independent study and research skills through the use of technology to inform design choices and design development.
  • To gain an understanding of how Design and Technology has a major impact on the world around us.
  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
  • Be encouraged to progressively develop their own strengths and interests within the family of Design and Technology subjects.
  • Learn to critically analyse and evaluate their own Design work.
  • Experience a range of practical skills and applications within the subject.
  • Use a range of techniques to record and document their Design journey on their way through the development of different projects.

We strive to develop our student’s independence, creativity and love for the subject through focussed projects and high quality teaching.

Useful resources:

Key Stage 4

In GCSE Design & Technology, we aim to:

Give all students the opportunity to build upon the work of KS3 and help them rapidly develop their knowledge and practical skills through designing and making exciting quality products in a range of materials and disciplines. In Year 9 and 10, students will work on a wide variety of design and make projects which will develop their knowledge of working with graphics, textiles, electronics, mechanisms, structures, wood, plastic and metal using a wide range of equipment. At the end of Year 10 they will be able to choose to focus on an area of interest to them and complete a substantial design and make project for their coursework unit(NEA) in Year 11.

The course will enable students to:

  • Develop knowledge and designing and making skills through a range of enjoyable, fast-paced and challenging mini-projects using a wide range of materials and components safely.
  • Develop a creative approach to design development and take calculated risks whilst using technical and practical expertise to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world.
  • Develop important skills in investigation, problem solving, decision making, planning, time management, resource organisation and manufacturing.
  • Use new technology - computer aided designing and manufacturing techniques (including laser cutting and 3D printing) along with traditional hand tools and workshop machinery to design and make your ideas.
  • Develop skills to clearly communicate your ideas through annotation, sketching and 3D modelling.
  • Develop the ability to take into account design considerations and industrial practices.
  • Develop the skills to critically analyse, evaluate, test and refine their own ideas and final products.

At the end of Year 10 students will start their GCSE coursework project (50%), completing a concise design folder containing: analysed research; development of ideas; planning; and on-going evaluations. Students will then manufacture, test and evaluate their final product in Year 11.

The final examination (50%) enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge within a range of exam contexts set by the examination board.

The impact of Design & Technology on the world and society around us

An economic purpose –

A steady supply of people who have studied design & technology is essential to maintain and develop the kind of society we value. Design & technology is central to the innovation on which our future economic success as a nation depends. For those young people who achieve a design & technology qualification at Abbey Grange Academy, the experience may well predispose some of them to consider a technical career.

A personal purpose –

The learning achieved through studying design & technology at school is useful in everyday situations, as it enables young people to deploy design skills and technical problem solving to address and solve practical problems at both the personal and community levels.

A social purpose –

In their communities, their work places, and through the media, people encounter questions and disputes that have matters of design and/or technology at their core. Often these matters are contentious. Significant understanding of design and of technology is needed to reach an informed view on such matters and engage in discussion and debate.

A cultural purpose -

Technologies and the design thinking behind them are major achievements of our culture, linked to the history of our country. With links to religious studies students will develop a better understanding of different food beliefs and choices and how this has brought different cultures and communities together.

Potential Career Ideas

Furniture Design, Joinery, Electrician, Construction, Site Manager, Architect, Production Line Manager, Logistics, Fashion Designer, Theatre Set and Costume Designer,Apprenticeships, Interior Design, Teaching, Fashion Buyer, Milliners, Shoe Design, Fabric Design, Aeronautical Engineer, Jewellery Design, Mechanical Engineer, Telecommunications, Electronics Engineer, Plumbing, Product Designer,Manufacturing Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Structural Engineering,Architectural Engineering and lots more.

Useful resources:

  • Use AQA website to access exam board’s specification and other resources.
  • Use https://foldr.abbeygrangeacademy.co.uk (login with your school Username + Password) to access the Digital Resource Library – Technology – KS4. GCSE resources are available for years 9-11.
  • Technology Student
  • BBC Bitesize
  • Textbook and Revision Notes book for AQA GCSE Design & Technology available from Collins, cgpbooks, Pocket Posters and Hodder Education.


In GCSE Engineering, we aim to:

  • Give students a broad understanding of the world of engineering.
  • Develop students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in engineering, which will be of use generally, and as part of a progressive career path, which could lead to further academic study or employment.
  • Give students a variety of learning experiences which encourage the development of problem solving and practical skills.
  • Use and develop the knowledge and skills that students use in Maths and Physics (Science) to test, calculate and investigate engineering systems.
  • Encourage students to work hard as individuals and within teams, to gain knowledge and complete tasks to a high standard.
  • Develop students’ knowledge of engineering materials and their properties, engineering communication and manufacturing processes.
  • Develop students’ knowledge and understanding of how things work - Mechanisms, Electronics, Structures, Pneumatics and Aerodynamics – and the impact of modern technologies.
  • Develop students’ skills to problem solve, engineer, plan and manufacture their own working solution prototypes.
  • Develop students’ practical engineering skills at using computer aided design & manufacturing equipment, tools and machines to design and make engineered products.

Ultimately, we aim to develop independent problem solving and practical engineering skills through enjoyment of learning about the engineered world around us and putting what is learnt into practice. This will allow our students to understand engineered products and systems, production processes and give them the opportunity to contribute to one of the many engineering fields in the future.

The impact of Engineers on the world and society around us

  • Engineers have changed the world we live in, from modern homes, bridges, space travel, cars to the latest mobile technology. They develop their innovative ideas into new and exciting prospects and solve any problems that arise.
  • Advances in medical technology are down to engineers, and without it, doctors would not be able to treat patients the way they do today.
  • Engineers are the reason for the phenomenal growth in technology in our everyday lives, like the smart phone that allows us to access the world with our fingertips. Engineers have built satellites and machines that help us understand the world we live, monitor the environment, and shape our lives.
  • Communication engineering has developed so we can keep in touch with people at any time, in any part of the world. This has improved how we talk to friends and family, and helped us do business smarter and faster.
  • From steam engines and combustion engines of the past to jet engines and aeroplanes. Improvements to travel and transportation have changed the way humans connect with one another, opening trades for business and allowing us to travel to the other side of the planet in 24 hours.
  • Engineers are now developing sustainable ways of producing energy and methods of transportation to help resolve the issues of climate change.
  • Engineers helped to develop the International Space Station, so that scientists, analysts, and engineers from all over the planet can conduct research and answer the questions that were previously unanswered.
  • Engineering continues to affect society in a great and beneficial way.

Useful resources:

  • Use the AQA Website to access exam board’s specification and other resources.
  • Use https://foldr.abbeygrangeacademy.co.uk (login with your school Username + Password) to access the Digital Resource Library – Technology – KS4 – Engineering GCSE – and see teaching and learning materials.
  • Focus eLearning - Focus on Mechanisms, Focus on Plastics - Manufacturing, Focus on Metals – Manufacturing, DT Materials Database, Smart Materials, New & Emerging Technologies.
  • Textbook and Revision Notes book for AQA GCSE Engineering available from Hodder.