GCSE Design & Technology

This course is for those who considering a career in design or engineering, who might be particularly interested in careers in Architecture, Engineering, Product Design and the Creative Industry.

The new Design and Technology GCSE encourages students to understand and apply the iterative design process that can be summarised as explore, create and evaluate. Students will need to develop their creativity and to use their imagination to design and make products or prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. Students will be required to demonstrate and apply mathematical and scientific knowledge and apply knowledge from other disciplines including art and design, computing and the humanities.

Students will acquire subject knowledge in Design and Technology that builds on their key stage 3 learning, incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials, components and manufacturing processes in order to comprehensively deliver their concepts and products and prototypes. They will learn how to take design risks, become resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present Design and Technology, students will develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world and understand that high-quality Design and Technology is essential to the creativity, culture, sustainability, wealth and well-being of the nation.

The new GCSEs will allocate 50% of total marks to exams, and 50% to non-exam assessment. The non-exam assessment will be completed in Year 11 and allow students to focus on one area of interest within Design and Technology. This section will allow for the direct assessment of the student’s ability to apply knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the iterative design process of exploring, creating and evaluating, over an extended period of time. A proportion of non-exam assessment marks will be awarded for the products and prototypes that students design and make. There will be a written exam at the end of the course which will account for 50% of the final grade.

Students will follow the OCR GCSE (1-9) Design and Technology


2 hours Written paper

100 marks

Principles of Design and Technology

This component brings together the learners ‘core’ and ‘in-depth’ knowledge and understanding.

  • ‘Core’ knowledge of Design and Technology principles demonstrates learners’ broad understanding of principles that all learners should have across the subject.
  • ‘In-depth’ knowledge allows learners to focus more directly on at least one main material category, or design engineering.

The question paper is split into two sections. A minimum of 15% of the paper will assess learners’ mathematical skills as applied within a design and technology context


100 marks Approx. 40 hours Non-exam assessment

Iterative Design Challenge

This component offers the opportunity for learners to demonstrate understanding of and skills in iterative designing, in particular:

  • the interrelated nature of the processes used to identify needs and requirements (explore)
  • creating solutions to meet those needs (create)
  • evaluating whether the needs have been met (evaluate).

As an outcome of their challenge, learners will produce a chronological portfolio and one final prototype(s). It is through the iterative processes of designing that learners draw on their wider knowledge and understanding of Design and Technology principles.

Contextual challenges will be released on 1 June (during Y10) each year.

Full details of the course can be found at http://www.ocr.org.uk/