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GCSE Design and Technology sets out the knowledge, understanding and skills required to undertake the iterative design process of exploring, creating and evaluating. The majority of the specification should be delivered through the practical application of this knowledge and understanding. Students will be awarded their GCSE through an exam (50%) and through the completion of an NEA  (non-examined assessment) 

The subject content for the examination has been split into three sections as follows:

  1. Core technical principles

This covers the core technical principles and all content must be taught.

  1. Specialist technical principles

This is where students will go into greater depth in at least one material area.  Our focus at St.Ambrose is primarily timbers, then polymers and finally metals.

  1. Designing and making principles

This covers design and making principles and all content in this section must be taught.

EXAM - How it's assessed

• Written exam: 2 hours

• 100 marks

• 50% of GCSE


Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks)

A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical

knowledge and understanding.

Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks)

Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in

depth knowledge of technical principles.

Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks)

A mixture of short answer and extended response questions.

NEA -How it's assessed

• Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx

• 100 marks

• 50% of GCSE


• Substantial design and make task

• Assessment criteria:

• Identifying and investigating design possibilities

• Producing a design brief and specification

• Generating design ideas

• Developing design ideas

• Realising design ideas

• Analysing & evaluating

• In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above should be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner

• Contextual challenges to be released annually by AQA on 1 June in the year prior to the submission of the NEA

• Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence

• Work will be marked by teachers and moderated by AQA