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Design & technology

Design & technology allows our pupils to be creative, imaginative and inspired. Under the guidance of our talented and experienced staff, pupils produce work of an outstanding standard and several have won some prestigious awards.

Together with our excellent purpose-built facilities and consistently high exam results, Bryanston has earned its nationwide reputation for excellence in this subject area.

From Year 9 our focused curriculum steers toward resistant materials technology and product design. Our spacious, well-equipped design studios, CAD facilities and workshops offer pupils the opportunity to explore fully designing and manufacturing while applying the principles of artistic creativity, science and Computer Science.

Bryanston pupils push the boundaries of their project work and we always thoroughly enjoy seeing what they can achieve, both here and beyond into the fields of art, design, architecture and engineering. 


D (Year 9)

The aim of this year is to ensure that all pupils gain a solid foundation and grounding in design & technology. Pupils often join Bryanston with a huge variety of skills, experience and understanding of design & technology. The focus of the year is on gaining practical skills by producing high quality work in preparation for GCSE.  


At GCSE, pupils study Design & Technology: Resistant Materials. The course follows CIE’s IGCSE Specification (0979)

During the opening two terms of the course, (in Year 10), pupils partake in a variety of design, practical and theory focused activities developed to introduce the skills and knowledge required to succeed in the assessed units. The course has three assessed units:

  • Component 1: The Product Design paper is a 1 hour 15 minute exam, worth 50 marks, which makes up 25% of the total assessment. Pupils are expected to select one of three design contexts, from which they go on to: outline design specifications, demonstrate their designing skills by presenting three design ideas, evaluating each then, selecting one for development.
  • Component 2: The Resistant Materials paper is a 1 hour paper, worth 50 marks, which makes up 25% of the total assessment. Pupils are expected to answer all questions in Section A, then select one question from Section B. The paper tests their knowledge of: woods, metals, plastics, smart materials, composites, manufacturing processes, industrial production, CAD/CAM and design issues. 
  • Component 3: Coursework Project. This single design and make project, worth 100 marks, which makes up 50% of the total assessment. Pupils are expected to present evidence of their research, designing and making over 20 A3 pages of a portfolio. They will be expected to manufacture a high quality, three-dimensional outcome. The project spans three terms from Summer in Year 10 (C) through to Spring in Year 11 (B). The work is internally assessed and externally moderated.

A level

At A Level, pupils study Design & Technology: Product Design. The course follows OCR’s Specification (H406) 

During the opening two terms of the course, (in Year 12), pupils partake in a variety of design, practical and theory focused activities developed to introduce the skills and knowledge required to succeed in the assessed units. The course has three assessed units:

  • Component 1: Principles of Product Design, is a 1 hour 30 minute, written exam, worth 80 marks, which accounts for 27% of the total assessment. Within the paper, pupils are expected to: analyse existing products, demonstrate applied mathematical skills, technical knowledge of materials & manufacturing processes and demonstrate their understanding of wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries.
  • Component 2: Problem Solving in Product Design, is a 1 hour 45 minute, written and problem solving exam, worth 70 marks, which accounts for 23% of the total assessment. Within the paper, pupils are expected to demonstrate their higher thinking, critical evaluation and problem solving skills in response to a context and supporting information.
  • Component 3: The Iterative Design Project, is a non examined assessment (NEA), worth 150 marks, which accounts for 50% of the total assessment. The NEA requires pupils to present evidence of a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative design processes of ‘explore, create and evaluate’. Pupils are expected to identify a design opportunity or problem, from a context of their own choice produce a 25 to 30 page electronic portfolio, demonstrating an iterative approach to their designing, making and evaluating, applying creativity and innovation. The project spans three terms from summer in Year 12 (A3) through to spring in Year 13 (A2). The work is internally assessed and externally moderated.

IB Design & Technology

Concepts and principles are specified for each topic. There are examples of International-mindedness, links to other IB subjects and Theory of Knowledge questions to enrich the syllabus and broaden students’ understanding of the impact of technology and design thinking.

Common core - all standard and higher-level student complete a common core:

  • Human factors and ergonomics
  • Resource management and sustainable production
  • Modelling
  • Raw material to final product
  • Innovation and design
  • Classic design

HL extension - Higher level students examine four further topics designed to extend and deepen their understanding of the subject. The four additional higher level topics aim to introduce aspects of innovation:

  • User-centered design (UCD)
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation and markets
  • Commercial production


  1. Internal assessment (design project) accounts for 40% of the final assessment.

All standard and higher-level students complete a design project as an internal assessment task. This design project allows them to demonstrate their investigative, analytical, design thinking, design development, prototyping, testing and evaluation skills and mirrors the design processes used across the various industries that integrate design practice.

  • At SL, the design project requires students to identify a problem and develop a solution. It is assessed against four common criteria: Analysis of a design opportunity, Conceptual design, Development of a detailed design, Testing and evaluation
  • At HL, the design project is extended to include aspects of innovation. The design project is assessed against two additional criteria: Commercial production, Marketing strategies
  1. Examined assessment accounts for 60% of the final assessment.

The standard level course is assessed through: a multiple choice paper (paper 1), a core paper, which consists of a short response and extended answer questions (paper 2) and the internal assessment design project.

At higher level, paper one has more questions, and students answer an additional paper (paper 3) consisting of three structured questions based on the HL extension material, one of which is based on a case study.

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There is an impressive range of extra-curricular activities within Design & Technology at Bryanston, which provides pupils with many exciting and memorable experiences.

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We enjoy welcoming prep schools to the D&T department and every year hold a Prep Schools’ D&T Challenge day for Year 6 pupils.

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Greenpower Challenge

Bryanston's Greenpower team are preparing their electric car ready for this year's round of races. Here they tell us about their progress so far.

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If you have a promising Year 8 pupil who would like to apply for a D&T scholarship, please do let us know. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a real interest in design and have impressive graphical and practical skills.