The Design and Technology Department aims to create an environment that will support the academic and personal development of each student.  This is achieved through the continual development and delivery of an exciting curriculum that enables all students to achieve their potential.  We also have good links with the community and industry including Surrey SATRO, ATKINS, Sainsbury’s, FutureChef Programme and The Design Council etc.

A number of competitions take place annually; we use industrialists as much as possible to demonstrate and enhance the lessons; we also run a number of trips involving various aspects of technology.


The Curriculum area is housed in well-equipped and well-maintained facilities consisting of two workshops, one plastics’ workshop / graphics room and a further graphics’ room, two food technology rooms and two textiles’ rooms, one computer pod housing 19 computers. CAM is a major focus and the department make good use of six CAD/CAM sewing machines and two state of the art 3D Printers. The department is also equipped with an industry standard laser cutter that allows students to create complex designs in a variety of materials.

A level Product Design

Curriculum Intent

At Blenheim High School, the Design and Technology  A Level curriculum combines skills, knowledge, concepts and values to enable students to tackle real world contextual problems. It embodies analysis, problem solving, practical capability and evaluation skills. We aim to, link the curriculum work to other disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Team work and collaborative learning is at the centre of our departments ethos.

Pupils are consistently encouraged to become innovators and risk-takers. Students create solutions in response to contemporary world issues using an iterative design process of constant development and evaluation High-quality A Level education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation. 


At Blenheim High School the Design Technology A Level Curriculum aims to:

  • Inspire develop and nurture the individual creativity of our students.
  • Build a repertoire of core technical and specialist design subject knowledge to be able to progress to degree and industry level standards.
  • Stretch and Challenge students to realise their potential through targeted assessment and purposeful feedback.
  • Encourage independent evaluation and critical thinking to enable them to create and answer real world contextual design problems.
  • Forge tenable links between STEM subjects to build upon and broaden students perspective and skill set.

Course Details

A level Product Design is for those who are interested in designing the products of the future and pursuing a design based career. It is for those who enjoy sketching, drawing, being creative, working with a range of materials, manufacturing 3D products and carrying out practical tasks. It amalgamates a practical approach with the relevant theory required to understand, refine and construct innovative and diverse products. We encourage students to embrace new technologies and take risks with their design work. Product Design is a well-respected subject and helps students develops many of the transferable/soft skills Universities, Employers and Colleges are looking for. 

Across the 2 year course you will create several design proposals and prototypes culminating in a final prototype based on a self generated and researched design brief. You will also be expected to study a range of theory topics from both Resistant Materials and Graphics (these will provide the basis of the knowledge required for the examinations in Year 13).

You will also learn about the ‘designed’ world around you, and how everything has been created with a purpose, function, form and user in mind, even the simplest of products

Link to course specification


The course is assessed through two examination papers and a substantial design and make task.

Paper 1: Technical principles

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • 120 marks
  • 30% of A-level

Questions - Mixture of short answer and extended response.

Paper 2: Designing and making principles

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • 80 marks
  • 20% of A-level

Questions - Mixture of short answer and extended response questions.

Section A:

  • Product Analysis: 30 marks
  • Up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s).

Section B:

  • Commercial manufacture: 50 marks
  • Mixture of short and extended response questions


Non Exam Assessment-Coursework:

What's assessed

Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles.

How it's assessed

  • Substantial design and make project
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of A-level

Evidence - Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Enrichment opportunities

Studying Product Design naturally leads to ways of extending learning outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged to conduct primary research and experience products and events first hand. In Year 12 students visit sites and buildings to independently to carry out research that will inform their product design tasks.Students in Year 13 carry out their own research specific to their project. This has included trips to the local forge, attending ‘Bikefest’ at the NEC, working with and finding a business client and visiting the local Sea Scout Centre to find out about and test canoes. Allied to this, we offer a trip to the renowned Design Museum in London and support entries into national competitions.

Student quotes

‘I chose Product Design because I was intrigued to find out how things are made. I love the subject and have learnt a lot of practical skills that I can apply to everyday life.’

‘Product Design has developed my technical thinking and has proven a great asset to me with employment and further education.’


Many students who have studied Product Design have gone on to successfully complete degrees at Russell Group Universities and we regularly send students to study Design at Loughborough, one of the top Universities in the country. If you study Product Design you open yourself up to a whole host of career prospects. Study a Design based degree. Work in the Design Industry; this could include Product, Industrial, Interior, Garden, Environmental and Engineering Design. It could also lead to Architecture, Construction and many other types of Engineering. You will also develop analytical, evaluative and creative skills that will be of benefit in the future.


A level Fashion and Textiles

Curriculum Intent

Students will develop their theoretical knowledge through a mixture of theory lessons, practicals, disassembly and case studies. Each week they will explore the theory content ranging from fibre knowledge, emerging technologies in industry and social, historical and cultural influences on design. Students will apply their skills and theory knowledge to their NEA project (50%); Students will carry out the process of iterative design to investigate, design and manufacture a prototype that is based on a context of their choice and suits the needs of their target market. During the design and manufacturing stage students will apply and develop their practical and evaluative skills through experimentation and development of samples, they will follow health and safety practices and manufacturing processes used in industry (where applicable) to manufacture a finished prototype.

Course details

This brand new and exciting A level in Fashion and Textiles is a creative and thought-provoking qualification which gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries. 

Textiles is the second largest industry globally and employs millions of people. Fashion is highly competitive, fast paced and extremely rewarding industry to work in; with Blenheim’s location near to London there are many career opportunities and universities nearby that students can progress to.

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of how the structure of fibres and fabrics affect their properties and uses. They will learn about new developments in smart and modern fabrics and finishes, how computerisation has revolutionised global manufacture and how designers must design in a way that is inclusive, safe and sustainable.

Students will explore the work of iconic designers, art movements and will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences affecting the changes in fashion in the 20th century.

Students will learn a range of practical skills including pattern alteration, decorative techniques, dress making skills, fashion illustration, using computerised machines and design software such as Adobe illustrator, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototype of their choice by undertaking a design and make portfolio project.

Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.

Below is more detail of the topics covered by this exciting and comprehensive course. 

Technical Principles:

3.1.1 Materials and their applications

3.1.2 Performance characteristics of materials

3.1.3 Methods of joining and use of components

3.1.4 The use of finishes

3.1.5 Enhancement of materials

3.1.6 Modern industrial and commercial practice

3.1.7 Digital design and manufacture

3.1.8 The requirements for textile and fashion design and development

3.1.9 Health and safety

3.1.10 Protecting designs and intellectual property

3.1.11 Design for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and disposal

3.1.12 Feasibility studies

3.1.13 Enterprise and marketing in the development of products

Designing and Making:

3.2.1 Design methods and processes

3.2.2 Design theory

3.2.3 How technology and cultural changes can impact on the work of designers

3.2.4 Design processes

3.2.5 Critical analysis and evaluation

3.2.6 Selecting appropriate tools, equipment and processes

3.2.7 Accuracy in design and manufacture

3.2.8 Responsible design

3.2.9 Design for manufacture and project management

3.2.10 National and international standards in product design

Maths Content:

The exam paper will cover some higher level maths questions that relate to real-life situations where maths is needed in Textiles. The maths content includes: ratios, percentages, graphs, fractions, histograms, volume and area. Students will be required to have a scientific calculator for theory lessons.

Link to course specification


The course is assessed in two ways:

1) Written Exam

2 papers at A2 level (Technical principles – 2.5 hours, 120 marks, 30% of A-Level) and Designing and making principles (1.5 hours, 80 marks, 20% A-Level)

2) Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)

What's assessed

Students will undertake an independent design and make coursework project based on a context. In year 13, students choose their own context with guidance from their teacher.

Students will apply their knowledge of core technical principles and designing and making in order to create a design portfolio and prototype on the context set.

How it's assessed

Substantial design and make project. (100 marks - 50% of A-level)

Enrichment opportunities

Many trips are taken throughout the course including visits to London Fashion week, the Clothes Show, various exhibitions, fabric shopping at Goldhawk Road and the V&A museum to name a few.

Student quotes

"Textiles at A level provides you with freedom and independence to explore more exciting and innovative designs within the development of your project. With the support of the teachers in the textiles department, you can achieve great grades."

“I loved learning about the history of fashion and bringing those elements into my work. This A level has really given me the chance to experiment and take risks with my practical work. Teachers encourage you to develop your skills and think creatively, but give you the support to realise your ideas. It’s hard work, but to see my finished garment is so rewarding and it got me my place at London College of Fashion.”


The skills that students gain on this course will support their application to an enormous range of careers and university courses such as: fashion design, costume design, print design, pattern cutting, tailoring, fashion illustration, fashion journalism, exhibition and display design, interior design, museum curatorship, fashion design, shoe design, technical illustration, product marketing, theatre set design, TV set design, design management, packaging design, teaching / lecturing, market research, trend setters to name but a few.