Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

Design and Technology: Design Engineering or Product Design

Why Study Design & Technology at Bolton School?

Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject which gives an insight into the way the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries function. 

There are two endorsed routes through the course, and you will choose which route you wish to follow:

  • Design Engineering is focussed towards engineered, electronic, programmable and mechanical products and systems,
  • Product Design is focussed towards consumer products, their applications and their analysis in respect of materials, components and marketability. 

There is overlap between the two areas relating to the core principles of Design and Technology, and for much of the course students from each route may be taught together. 

Learning about Design and Technology develops critical thinking and problem solving skills within a creative environment, enabling you to identify market needs and opportunities for new products and to develop and make prototypes that solve real world problems and have commercial viability. The course is highly practical and is assessed through a written examination and an extensive practical coursework project in which you follow an iterative process to design and make a prototype product. 

There is a particular focus on science and mathematics and the level of knowledge will be equivalent to higher tier GCSE. Consequently, students considering taking an A-Level in Design and Technology should be achieving a high standard in Mathematics and Sciences at GCSE. 

Design and Technology is a well-established and successful subject at Bolton School operating in superbly-equipped rooms with the latest equipment. The Head of Department has worked with Ofqual to help develop the exciting new specifications described above, and to publish nationwide support materials for students and other teachers; he also holds a senior examining position in the subject and has co-authored five current textbooks. Other teachers in the department are also examiners and have earned national awards for excellence in their field. This wealth of experience is invaluable to support students through the course.  The department is also proud of its students’ success in gaining Arkwright Scholarships, and A-level students are encouraged to take leadership in the hugely active extra-curricular societies, including the Young Engineers Club, Go-Kart Club, and the Creative Enterprise Club.

Where Will it Lead?

Design and Technology is ideally suited to students wishing to follow a career in either Engineering or Design

Design Engineering fits perfectly alongside Mathematics and Physics for students intending to pursue any of the Engineering subjects at university, e.g. Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical or Electronic Engineering, Computer Design, Aeronautical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Motorsport Engineering, Robotics etc.  It also provides excellent preparation for university courses in Materials Science or Architecture.  

Product Design can lead to careers in Product Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Surface Pattern Design, 3D Design, Animation and Film/Video.  The combination of other A-level subjects for such students is usually not critical, although some universities will specify particular subjects and you should look into this before choosing your A-levels. 

For entry onto certain courses, some universities specify a Design and Technology A-level.  In any case, for entry onto the courses listed above, most universities value Design and Technology as a broadening subject and one which prepares students with crucial life skills and an awareness of how to approach and solve real-world problems.

What is it like studying Design and Technology?

  • This course is highly practical – you will need to be extremely well-motivated to work in a fast-paced practical environment
  • Half of the course is assessed by a practical coursework project, half by written examination
  • You will need to be confident with mathematics and science
  • You will need to be well organised with your hand-in deadlines
  • You will have achieved good GCSE grades in Design and Technology, Mathematics and sciences before embarking on the A-level course
  • You will be keen to solve problems iteratively, by experimenting and improving
  • You will make lots of things and use a variety of advanced equipment
  • Students will go on industrial visits and trips, and meet real designers and engineers
  • You will produce a design portfolio which provides a very useful talking-point for university interviews
  • You will definitely feel a strong sense of achievement when your ideas finally become real, working products.