What skills and previous experience will I need?
The AS and A2 course should be seen as a natural progression from Design Technology subjects studied for GCSE ie; Product Design and Resistant Materials. You should have a good understanding of the processes followed when designing and making and have gained at least five grade Cs and above at GCSE including a B grade or above in a D&T subject preferably Product Design or Resistant Materials.
What will I study?
The course aims to give you an insight into the important role that product designers play in our everyday lives. You will be encouraged to:
- Initiate design solutions, develop, test and trial working models and prototypes.
- Develop and sustain imagination, innovation and flair when working with concepts and materials.
- Develop an understanding of contemporary design and technological practices and consider the uses and effects of new technologies and modern materials.
- Develop thinking skills, financial capability, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills.
How will the subject be taught?
Work for the course broadly divides into two types:
- "Theory Work" - The theory work, in part, prepares you for the final (A2) written exam, but more importantly provides support and information for designing and making opportunities. This work would normally consist of:
- Design along with design theory
- Understanding relevant technologies ie materials, manufacturing processes, computer applications, graphics, etc, (focusing on what can be achieved with the school facilities but also gaining an understanding of industrial practices).
- “Project Work" - Project work is a very important part of the course forming two of the assessed units in the two year course.
Units of Work.
There are two units to be completed each year.
- PROD1: This is a written examination paper which tests the understanding of design and materials technology.
- PROD2: Controlled Assessment - this is more like a 'design and make' project. Students will have approximately one term to develop a portfolio of work that is divided into assessment sections. This work is first marked in school before being moderated by the exam board.
- PROD3: This is a written examination paper which tests the understanding of design and materials technology, building on the knowledge gained in PROD1. This paper contains long answer questions and is more involved in the design process and materials and equipment used in the manufacture of products.
- PROD4: Controlled Assessment - Students are allowed to select a project from a series of set themes to develop into a working prototype that can be tested and evaluated. This is more likely to take up two terms: it is assessed in school then moderated by the exam board.
Where does the course lead?
The subject has some obvious links with Art but it is often taken with Maths and Science because of the technological links. However, these are not the only subject combinations. The AS and A2 product design course will help students obtain places at the vast majority of higher education institutions. It will help if you wish to follow careers in interior design, industrial design, fashion, advertising, town and country planning, architecture, product design itself and many others. The majority of former students have gone on to follow related ‘Foundation’ or ‘Degree’ courses.
Who do I talk to?
In the first instance talk to your current Design Technology teacher but also to Mr Fullwood, Mr Trigg or Mr Barksby who currently teach the course and will show you examples of past students work.
“A level design combines a lot of skills into one lesson and the practical work is very enjoyable.”
"Like all the other A level subjects, product design requires enthusiasm, motivation and hard work. However I have gained a great deal from the subject”