Design Technology

Curriculum Vision

‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works’
- Steve Jobs -

Our vision for Design and Technology students at Chapel High School is that they see the world and its problems through other people’s eyes, look beyond the obvious and come up with sensitive and creative responses.  We nurture them to be environmentally, morally and socially aware, and to explore design solutions that will make the world a better place.

Knowledge and skills

We want our students to feel brave enough to experiment through a range of different specialisms. We encourage our students to problem solve innovatively and imaginatively, using a combination of traditional and technological skills whilst working collaboratively and with fluidity to fulfil design needs, solutions and products.  Prototype experimentation and iterative modelling are fostered across a wide range of manufacturing techniques and it is under this inclusive umbrella that we hope today’s students become tomorrow’s designers and engineers.   

To illustrate this our students in years 7 to 9 rotate projects which vary in materials, processes and design.  They construct products manufactured from timber, metal, polymers and textiles. We aim to incorporate CAD/CAM where applicable and foster graphic and design skills as well as thorough research and evaluation methods.

Those students who study with us in years 10 and 11 build on this by developing products for real clients. They extend their practical skills further to work intuitively and independently on projects which are changed annually by the exam board covering consumer needs such as keeping fit and active, outdoor living and preparing for an emergency.


We aim to provide our students with the necessary skills to become adaptable citizens, employees and employers and to recognise the opportunities which Design and Technology can bring both locally and beyond the hills of the High Peak.

Curriculum Content

In year 7, 8 and 9 students are taught in mixed ability classes. Groups are slightly smaller due to workshop health and safety requirements. Groups rotate 3 times through the year to experience different workshops and disciplines.

Year 7 learning is combined with theory, design and manufacturing skills, through the delivery of three projects. Topics include: Motion and mechanisms, origins, properties and sources of timber through design and manufacture of an automata. Bauhaus design and characteristics, origins and properties of composite materials, iterative modelling and manufacture of a clock. Social and economic understanding of less developed countries and how recycling textiles can benefit children around the world. Skills in manufacture and production of a garment for an African child.

Year 8 learning continues to be combined with theory, design and manufacturing skills, through the delivery of three projects. Topics include: Memphis design and characteristics, environmental impacts, sources, origins and properties of polymers, simple electronics through design and manufacture of a lamp. Sustainability of metal including the 6Rs through design and production of an engineered sand casted aluminium holder. Textile origin, sources, properties and environmental impacts. Flat packed furniture, recycling design and manufacture of an upholstered stool.

Year 9 learning continues to be combined with theory, design and manufacturing skills, through the delivery of three projects. Topics include: Art Deco design and characteristics, sources, origins and properties of metal, joining and finishing techniques, design and manufacture of a garden ornament and notebook. Computer aided design and manufacture through auto desk fusion software and laser cut manufacture and assembly of a condiment table set. Development of a sustainable solution, sources origins and properties of papers and boards and use in graphical applications. Iterative design and development, testing and evaluation of a recyclable passive amplifier.


Years 10 and 11

In years 10 and 11, students opt to study Design and technology to GCSE. The main areas of study are:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

Core technical principles: Students work towards gaining a thorough theoretical knowledge to apply in the exam alongside extensive design and practical lessons which develop skills for the final controlled assessment portfolio and product. Specialist technical principles and designing and making principles work through a range of materials and construction techniques through research, design, development and manufacture of innovative projects. Students are encouraged and given the opportunity to develop individual ideas and understand the need for iterative development and critical evaluation.

Qualification GCSE Design and Technology
Board AQA
Syllabus number 8552
Website link
Assessment details 50% terminal exam sat at the end of Year 11
50% NEA non examined assessment coursework portfolio controlled in Y11
Recommended coursebook AQA GCSE Design and technology ( 9-1)
Recommended revision guides CPG Design and technology, available through parent pay

Enrichment Opportunities

The Design and technology department run enrichment events throughout the year, for students to get involved with, these include:

Chatsworth House Christmas project
Sheffield Hallam University schools show
Technology club

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