Design and Technology

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OCR A Level in Design and Technology

This course offers three endorsed titles designed  to prepare learners for tertiary education and/or work-based study and training in the design, creative, engineering and/or manufacturing industries:

  • Design and Technology: Design Engineering (H004)
  • Design and Technology: Product Design (H006)
  • Design and Technology: Fashion and Textiles (H005)

GCA offers H004 and H006 only (see separate entry for Textiles):

Design Engineering is focused towards engineered and electronic products and systems; the analysis of these in respect of function, operation, components and materials, in order to understand their application and uses in engineered products/systems that have commercial viability.

Product Design is focused towards consumer products and applications; their analysis in respect of materials, components, and marketability to understand their selection and uses in industrial and commercial practices of product development.

Aims and learning outcomes

To encourage learners to:

  • be open to taking design risks, showing innovation and enterprise whilst considering their role as responsible designers and citizens
  • develop intellectual curiosity about the design and manufacture of products and systems, and their impact on daily life and the wider world
  • work collaboratively to develop and refine their ideas, responding to feedback from users, peers and expert practitioners
  • gain an insight into the creative, engineering and/or manufacturing industries
  • develop the capacity to think creatively, innovatively and critically through focused research and the exploration of design opportunities arising from the needs, wants and values of users and clients
  • develop knowledge and experience of real world contexts for design and technological activity
  • develop a strong core knowledge and understanding of principles in design and technology enabling them to make informed decisions in broader contexts
  • become independent and critical thinkers who can adapt their technical knowledge and understanding to different design situations
  • develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of materials, components and processes associated with the creation of products that can be tested and evaluated in use
  • develop an experienced understanding of iterative design processes that is relevant to industry practice
  • be able to make informed design decisions through an in-depth understanding of the management and development of taking a design through to a prototype/product
  • be able to create and analyse a design concept and use a range of skills and knowledge from other subject areas, including mathematics and science, to inform decisions in design and the application or development of technology
  • be able to work safely and skilfully to produce high-quality prototypes/products
  • have a critical understanding of the wider influences on design and technology, including cultural, economic, environmental, historical and social factors
  • become empathetic and successful designers, who not only consider global and local change, but also the wider social implications of products to meet multiple needs and requirements
  • develop the ability to draw on and apply a range of skills and knowledge from other subject areas, including the use of mathematics and science for analysis and informing decisions in design
  • develop and use key design and technology terminology to communicate effectively in future education and employment


Principles of Design (01)

26.5% of total A level

80 marks

1 hour 30 minutes

Written paper

This paper is set out through four sets of questions that predominantly cover technical principles within each endorsed title. Learners will be required to:

  • Analyse existing products
  • Demonstrate applied mathematical skills
  • Demonstrate their technical knowledge of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques
  • Demonstrate their understanding of wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries.

Contexts released on 1 June each year.

Problem Solving in Design (02)

23.5% of total A level

70 marks

1 hour 45 minutes

Written paper

This component has a series of longer answer questions that require learners to demonstrate their problem solving and critical evaluation skills. Learners will be required to:

  • Apply their knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products
  • Demonstrate their higher thinking skills to solve problems and evaluate situations and suitability of design solutions.

Contexts released on 1 June each year.

Iterative Design Project (03, 04)

50% of total A level

100 marks Approx. 65 hours

Non-exam assessment

The ‘Iterative Design Project’ requires learners to undertake a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate.

Learners identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of their own choice, and create a portfolio of evidence in real time through the project to demonstrate their competence.

Maths and Science

In the written examination, all learners are required to demonstrate their mathematical skills and scientific knowledge as applied to design and technology practice. The level of mathematical and scientific knowledge within this qualification should be equivalent to higher tier GCSE (9–1) learning.

It is a requirement that 15% of the marks within the written exam for Product Design assess the use of mathematical skills at a level of demand which is not lower than that expected at higher tier GCSE (9–1) Mathematics. Within Design Engineering this requirement is 25%, this extra 10% covering the specific mathematical skills associated with scientific engineering formulae.

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