St Bede's Inter-Church School

St Bede’s Inter-Church School

“Cum Deo - With God”  •  Cambridge
St Bede’s Free School Go
Ofsted Outstanding

Design and Technology

Design and Technology Curriculum Overview

Design and Technology in Years 7 and 8 is taught in rotation groups. All students have the opportunity to explore working with a variety of materials including wood, plastic, textiles and electronics. Students learn to analyse collected research, write specifications, design and develop products and evaluate a final product and the stages of making it.

Year 7 - Creative Curve Birdfeeder and Applique Cushion

Students study Resistant Materials and Textiles in half-year rotations. 

In the Resistant Materials units, students are introduced to a range of machinery and hand tools and use them to design and create a creative curve birdfeeder. The focus is on workshop safety and material manipulation. If there is time at the end of the project, students complete a Computer-Aided 3D Design drawing of their birdfeeder and create promotional graphics material for it. 

In the Textiles unit, students learn a variety of machine and hand-sewing techniques including hand embroidery, 3D construction techniques and machine appliqué. They apply these skills in designing and making a cushion on the theme of nature. If there is time at the end of the project, students apply their new skills to a recycling mini project. 

Year 8 - USB Mood Lamp

In this unit, students research a culture or country of their choice to design a pattern to engrave into a colour-changing mood lamp. Students study electronics in this unit, soldering circuits. They work with computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques to add their design to acrylic sheeting before they manipulate their material into 3D form using heat processes.

GCSE option choices are made at the end of Year 8.

GCSE - AQA Design Technology (1-9)

The new qualification is modern and relevant, so students are able to learn about contemporary technologies, materials and processes, as well as established practices.

The new GCSE places greater emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. Students use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. Exam theory is taught mainly through practical projects. All students complete studies in textiles, timbers and plastics.

 It should be noted that 10% of examined content requires good maths skills.

Specification Link:

Year 9

Students study in a variety of material areas. Examples of recent projects include:

  • Bench hook project
  • Poppy project
  • E-textiles decoration project
  • Pyjama bottom project
  • Inclusive cutlery design project

Years 10 and 11

Students develop their understanding of specialist technical principles as well as core content by completing practice projects for the Non-Examined Assessment. The projects prepare students for all aspects of this major assessment which starts in Year 10.

Examples of practice preparation projects include:

  • Passive amplifiers
  • Christmas mini projects
  • Clock project 

Non-Examined Assessment (NEA)

In the summer term students start their NEA, which takes them through to February of Year 11. The NEA is worth 50% of the overall GCSE grade and must relate to the contexts provided by the examination board in June. These contexts form the basis for individual study projects.  The NEA takes 35 hours of independent class time to complete. 

Students need to carry out research into their chosen context, identify a client for their project and write a design brief and specification. They then move on to designing a product to meet their client's needs within their chosen context and developing the design into a prototype for testing and evaluation. 


The examined component of the course is completed at the end of Year 11. It is a 2 hour exam worth 50% of the overall GCSE grade. The content is split into three areas:

  • Section A: Core technical principles
  • Section B: Specialist technical principles
  • Section C: Designing and making principles.

Course textbooks are provided on loan to our students for study throughout Years 9 to 11 and need to be returned in good condition. Our recommended GCSE revision book is Collins AQA Revision all-in-one revision and practice for AQA GCSE. Copies are available via Wisepay to students at various points throughout the year.

Staff Contacts: 

Mrs C Williams, Head of Vocational Education:

Mrs A Dewar, Teacher of Design and Technology (currently on maternity leave) 

Mrs K Ginger, Teacher of Design and Technology: