Head of Department
Level 5 in English & Maths, as well as a level 5 or above in GCSE Design & Technology
(Students who do not have a GCSE in Design & Technology may be considered for the course but will need to provide a portfolio of work prior to acceptance)
Why study this course
A Level Product Design opens a wide range of career opportunities for students. They can pursue careers as Architects, Engineers, product designers, industrial designers, UX/UI designers, design engineers, or even start their own design studios. The skills acquired during the course, including problem-solving, creativity, and technical knowledge, are highly sought after in industries such as manufacturing, technology, consumer goods, and automotive. A-Level Product Design offers students the opportunity to develop their creativity and practical skills. They learn to generate innovative ideas, sketch designs, create prototypes, and work with various materials and tools. This hands-on approach nurtures their problem-solving abilities and encourages them to think critically and analytically.
The course is divided into two components: the Technical Principles and the Designing and Making Principles.
This component focuses on developing students' understanding of materials, processes, and manufacturing techniques used in product design. Topics covered may include:
- Materials and their properties: Students learn about different materials, such as woods, metals, plastics, and composites. They explore their properties, advantages, limitations, and appropriate applications.
- Product analysis: Students learn how to analyse existing products, evaluating their form, function, aesthetics, ergonomics, and sustainability.
- Industrial and commercial practices: This covers aspects such as mass production, quality control, health and safety regulations, and environmental considerations.
Designing and Making Principles:
This component emphasizes the practical application of design principles and processes. Students develop their skills in researching, designing, and manufacturing products. Key areas covered include:
- Design thinking: Students learn about the design process, including generating ideas, sketching concepts, prototyping, and refining designs based on user feedback.
- Communication and presentation: Students develop their ability to effectively communicate their design ideas through sketching, rendering, and creating digital visualizations.
- CAD/CAM and prototyping: Students gain experience in using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create detailed technical drawings and 3D models. They also learn about computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) techniques and may have the opportunity to use technologies like laser cutting and 3D printing to create prototypes.
- Designing for manufacture: Students explore the practical considerations of designing products for mass production, including cost efficiency, assembly methods, and quality control.
Throughout the course, students are encouraged to develop their own design projects, applying the principles and skills they have learned. They will undertake research, produce design portfolios, create prototypes, and evaluate their final products.
Assessment for the AQA A Level Product Design course is conducted through a combination of written examinations and non-exam assessment (NEA). The NEA involves designing and making a product, accompanied by a design portfolio and written documentation.
Overall, the AQA A Level Product Design course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of design principles, materials, processes, and manufacturing techniques. It equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue further studies or careers in product design, engineering, or related fields.
In Year 12 students will undertake a range of practical assignments that are designed to teach them the skills they will need to successfully complete their NEA.
Students will start work on their NEA in the final Half term of Year 12 (June) and will work on this project until the end of Year 13.
During this time, they will also undertake theory lessons where they will cover all of the necessary theory topics in preparation for their two written exams.
The Design & Technology department offer a range of enrichment activities for students who study A Level Product Design. These include:
- Workshops and Masterclasses: Students can gain insights from experienced practitioners and learn about the latest trends and technologies in the field.
- Visits to Design Studios and Manufacturing Facilities
- Visits to local Universities such as Brunel to look at different courses, facilities etc and to take part in STEM related workshops
- Design Competitions and Exhibitions: Participating in design competitions or showcasing student work in exhibitions
- Collaborative Projects where students will have the opportunity to develop team working skills.
- Peer Mentoring: Year 13 students have the opportunity to sign up for departmental Peer mentoring where they help either the Year 11 or Year 12 product design students.
- Industry Placements or Internships: Where possible we try to find students work placements or internships that will help them gain further experience in the field they wish to study at university or to help them gain employment after their A Levels.
The majority of our students who study A level product Design often onto study either:
- Architecture or Engineering
However, the skills taught Iin A Level product design will enable students to go on to study a range of course at university including:
- Product design
- Industrial design
- Game design
- Design engineering
- Automotive design
- Aeronautical engineering