Design and Technology

Design & Engineering @ Plympton Academy

In the Design and Engineering Department at Plympton Academy we challenge you to develop creative solutions to real world design and engineering scenarios. We want you to design and create inspirational and innovative responses that support technical engineering knowledge, processes, and capabilities.

In your first two years, you will carry out design based projects that provide a detailed analysis of the main stages of the design process from analysing a design brief, to providing a creative response. This will provide a designed solution for a researched target market, and a developed idea through analysis of a variety of cultural understandings and influences. The design curriculum at Plympton academy not only offers a strong design theory based approach but also provides the opportunity to gain experience in practical design skill techniques such as, three-dimensional drawing, computer aided design, graphic communication, and traditional resistant material craft skills. We believe in a multiskilled approach to practical design activities opting to integrate new and existing technologies in the creation of project outcomes. Utilising 3D printing, laser cutting and CAD with more traditional methods of woodworking and metalworking.

Following Key Stage 3, we offer a 3D Design curriculum (BTEC Technical award in Art and Design qualification is 120 guided learning hours, equivalent to 1 GCSE) where you will discover how the design or making cycle works in an art and design practice and learn about the specialist materials, techniques and processes to create three dimensional products and designs.

BTEC Level 2 Art and Design Practice (3D Design)

The Technical award has been developed to give learners at Key stage 4 the opportunity to study a vocational area in the curriculum. The award focuses on developing sector-specific knowledge and technical skills in a practical learning environment. This course is essentially a vocational course, which means there is greater emphasis on a more “hands on” approach. In this Tech award, you will be learning about a variety of art, design & technical skills and processes through theory and practical application. This vocational course focuses on the purpose of art and design practice and the broader attributes valued in this sector, for example researching, planning, generating ideas, realising intentions, problem solving and communicating, as well as more general skills needed in work that fit well with project-based learning, for example teamwork and independent learning

What will I study?

The course is designed to provide Level 2 learners with:

  • Application of Art and Design principles to work with realistic vocational contexts.
  • Working in response to design challenges using practical exploration and experimentation.

Learners will be introduced to the following disciplines:

  • Design Crafts
  • Visual Arts
  • Visual Communication
  • Product Design

The content builds on skills students have learnt in Design Technology as well as visual communication skills from Art at Key Stage 3. The content differs to GCSE Art as the course works with a range of Design Technology mediums including resistant materials, CAD/CAM and digital image manipulation.

Component 1: Creative Practice in Art and Design- An internally assessed unit, giving students an opportunity to build their skills using a range of different tools, media, equipment as well as workshop equipment (project dependent).

Component 2: Responding to a Brief- An externally assessed unit in which learners will use the range of skills picked up in component 1 to produce work in response to a different brief each year.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1 is assessed internally.

Component 2 is assessed externally.

After completing the course, the direct route would be to continue to further study with the BTEC Level 3 National in Art and Design or an A Level in Art and Design or an apprenticeship. The vocational nature of the course provides students with the foundation to gain transferable skills during their studies such as self-reflection, communication, teamwork and problem solving, which will support their current and future progression in a variety of areas within this sector.

The BTEC 3D Design (First Award in Art and Design) would provide an appropriate progression route for practical and design minded students to develop skills towards an apprenticeship in a practical trade, or entry onto a relevant A level qualification.

Alternatively there is the Engineering curriculum, which develops engineering design and making skills, with an investigation of processes used to manufacture modern products within different engineering sectors, and the new developments in materials and engineering technology. Design engineers are problem solvers who bridge the gap between traditional engineering and design. It's a discipline which draws on knowledge of manufacturing techniques, product development, technical design, and rapid prototyping to bring new innovations to market.

WJEC Level 1/2 Vocational Award in Engineering (Technical Award).

This qualification enables students to take their first steps into the world of engineering. It is equivalent to one GCSE. This Vocational Award in Engineering will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the engineering sector and provide them with opportunities to develop associated practical skills. It covers manufacturing engineering products, designing engineering products and solving engineering problems which focuses on how modern engineering has had an impact on modern day life at home, work and in society in general.

What will I study?

  • Manufacturing engineering products
  • Designing engineering products
  • Solving engineering problems

Unit 1: Engineering Design (internally assessed, externally moderated)

The purpose of this unit is for learners to analyse engineered products in order to propose design solutions to meet requirements. In this unit, you will learn about the design process and how to analyse a product so you can see what features make it work and how it meets certain requirements. You will learn how to take ideas from different products in order to produce a design specification for a product.

Unit 2: Producing Engineering Products (internally assessed, externally moderated)

The purpose of this unit is for learners to use skills developed to produce an engineered product. Through this unit, you will learn to interpret different types of engineering information in order to plan how to make engineered products. You will develop the skills needed to work safely with a range of engineering processes, equipment, and tools.

Unit 3: Solving Engineering Problems (external examined assessment)

The purpose of this unit is for learners to use their knowledge and understanding of engineering processes and material properties to solve problems. You will learn about materials, processes, and maths that engineers use and how they are used to solve problems. In solving problems, you will learn to follow a process and develop drawing skills to communicate your solutions.

Learners will be encouraged to appreciate the importance of creativity and innovation to good design practice and actively engage in the processes of design and technology to develop as effective and independent learners. Understand the key principles of engineering and engineering processes and use their knowledge, skills, and understanding to make design decisions. Learners will also be required to analyse existing products and produce practical solutions to meet needs, wants and opportunities, recognising their impact on quality of life. Critically analyse links between the principles of good design, existing solutions, and technological knowledge and understand the underlying technical principles within design and technology within their chosen endorsed area, with emphasis on emerging technologies, materials and practices.

Progression to the Engineering level 3 qualification at sixth form provides further experience understanding the manufacturing processes in engineering as well as the team working and practical skills needed to manufacture a product or deliver engineering services safely.

The inclusion of a detailed CAD unit offers the opportunity to gain valuable commercial skills in the creation of 2D and 3D Computer aided design. Producing and interpreting engineering drawings to international standards that are used within the engineering industry alongside other processes to develop, improve, and maintain innovative products and systems. Mathematical principles are integral to providing an effective contribution to the design and development of engineered products and systems, the curriculum model for the sixth form engineering at Plympton Academy draws on the engineering science of developed theories of the likes of Newton an Ohm to investigate the work of a multiskilled engineering workforce. The mathematical unit offers the necessary theory that underpins the application to solve a range of engineering problems. These units are brought together to produce and effective design solution for a real-world engineering problem. This is used to demonstrate the process of transforming a user or market driven need for a new or revised design into a commercial product that addresses that need. You will be required to turn design ideas into viable products which consider the requirements of the user and any regulatory standards to generate concepts, and then using your knowledge of materials, components, and engineering principles to produce effective solutions.

On successful completion of the course you can progress on to a higher education course in engineering or a related subject such as product design or architecture. Alternatively, you are well placed to find work in the engineering industry.

In Design & Engineering at Plympton Academy you are strongly encouraged to gain an appreciation for the understanding of your ability to design, develop, and shape your environment. You will be challenged to question how and why the built environment, and the products that exist within in it are produced and developed.