Britain’s economic prospects are based on high value sectors such as engineering, advanced manufacturing, design and the creative industries. They are areas where Britain is still highly competitive and Product Design plays a key role in providing the skills needed to maintain this level. The subject inspires students to follow careers in these fields – the careers of the 21st Century.
Product Design gives young people the skills and abilities to engage positively with the designed and made world and to harness the benefits of technology. They learn how products and systems are designed and manufactured, how to be innovative and to make creative use of a variety of resources, including digital technologies, to improve the world around them. It’s about providing opportunities for students to develop their capability, combining their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding in order to create quality products.
Product Design is a practical and valuable subject, enabling students to actively contribute to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of themselves, their community and their nation. It teaches how to take risks and so become more resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable. Students develop a critical understanding of the impact of Product Design on daily life and the wider world. Additionally, it provides excellent opportunities for students to develop and apply value judgements of an aesthetic, economic, moral, social, and technical nature, both in their own designing and when evaluating the work of others.
In Years 7 and 8, Product Design is taught as mini-skills projects, such as hydro-electric turbines made from recycled materials and acrylic light boxes. These projects allow students to experiment with design, electronics, woodwork, plastics, technical drawing , both CAD and manual, and packaging. The course builds on the skills and knowledge students have already learnt at primary level. At Crickhowell High School, students focus on the specific area of product design, at the core of which is creativity and imagination. Students learn to design and make products that solve genuine, relevant problems within different contexts, whilst considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. To do this effectively, they will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on additional disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.
During Years 7 and 8 the curriculum provides opportunities for students to:
- analyse products to learn how they function and to undertake focused tasks that develop knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to design
- engage in design and assignments in different and progressively more complex contexts, including uses beyond the classroom
- to work individually and in teams, taking on different roles and responsibilities
- use ICT appropriately for image capture and generation; data acquisition, capture and handling; controlling; and product realisation and to make links between Product Design and other subject areas
The Product Design GCSE commences in Year 9. The initial part of the course allows students to gain skills in a variety of practical and design areas. Small projects are completed in half termly blocks and students are provided with the opportunity to design and make products in a variety of materials. Students are encouraged to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. They become aware of, and learn from, the wider influences on design and technology, including historical, social / cultural, environmental and economic factors.
The course of study enables students to work creatively when designing and making their product / system and apply technical and practical expertise, in order to:
- develop an appreciation of the importance of creativity and innovation to good design practice
- actively engage in the processes of design and technology to develop as effective and independent learners
- understand the key principles of designing and making
- use their knowledge, skills and understanding to make design decisions in order to make a quality prototype
- analyse existing products and produce practical solutions to meet needs, wants and opportunities, recognising their impact on quality of life
- critically analyse links between the principles of good design, existing solutions and technological knowledge
- understand the underlying technical principles within Product Design with emphasis on emerging technologies, materials and practices
The materials they’ll be introduced to during their course of study are :
- Papers and boards
- Natural and manufactured timber
- Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
- Thermoforming and thermosetting polymers
- Modern and smart materials
Students will study these materials in the context of:
- The sources, origins, physical and working properties of materials, components and systems.
- The way in which the selection of materials or components is influenced by a range of factors such as functional, aesthetic, environmental, availability, cost, social, cultural and ethical.
- Stock forms, types and sizes in order to calculate and determine the quantity of materials or components required.
- Alternative processes that can be used to manufacture products to different scales of production.
- Specialist techniques and processes that can be used to shape, fabricate, construct and assemble a high
- quality prototype.
- Appropriate surface treatments and finishes that can be applied for functional and aesthetic purposes.
In the final year of the GCSE course, students undertake an assessed design and make task and sit a theory exam. Within the assessed coursework task, students produce a design portfolio, alongside a prototype product.
A copy of the WJEC Product Design specification can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:
AS and A2
For information on the AS and A2 course of study, please visit our Sixth Form Centre at https://www.crickhowell-hs.powys.sch.uk/sixthform/choosing-your-options/design-technology/ or by clicking on the link below:
Catch-up sessions are offered throughout the week at lunch and break times as well as after school. Students have access to the workshop and the computer suite for coursework and revision purposes. Within the product making sessions of the GCSE and A Level courses, students use the workshop after school to benefit from the machines and equipment.
Students interested in bicycle maintenance can also gain help and guidance with practical tasks.