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Plympton Academy

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 First 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.

You will learn how professionals research widely from different sources to gain inspiration and how this helps them to generate ideas, reviewing  your work to ensure that it meets your creative intentions. Analysing a client brief will provide with what is required and identify the factors that have to be taken into account when you develop your response. You will explore, experiment with and learn how to use materials and techniques as well as learn about, and record, the health and safety issues associated with the traditional and contemporary media, techniques and processes that you might use.  Practical activities will involve the use of materials (resistant, non-resistant, digital), making (cutting, carving, forming, moulding, finishing) and the design of products that may vary from furniture, games, toys, set design, model-making, and jewellery, to spatial design, product design and graphical communication.

How you will be assessed

Introduction to Specialist Pathways in Art and Design (internally assessed coursework).

Communicating Ideas in 3D (internally assessed coursework).

Developing a Design Portfolio (internally assessed coursework).

Creative Project in Art and Design (Externally assessed).


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.

The BTEC Tech Award in Engineering(Level 2, equivalent to 1 GCSE), provides students the opportunity to learn about the engineering industry, its organisation and interconnections, and the integration of skills within the different industry sectors. Students will consider the types of engineered product from various engineering industries, with a focus on the need to combining the skills available within different sectors to find efficient and cost-effective solutions to everyday problems. Students will also gain an insight into the functions, job roles and career progression opportunities in engineering organisations. Student will consider an engineering brief that considers the design and make process, covering the interpretation of an engineering brief, producing initial design proposals, and the generating of a design solutions with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) drawings. Student will investigate an engineered product considering materials, components and processes used in the production of engineered products. An analysis of the selection of materials, proprietary components, making processes is undertaken and a disassembly of a given engineered product. They will then plan, reproduce, inspect and test a single component.

How you will be assessed

The qualification consists of three components.

Exploring Engineering Sectors and Design Applications (Internally assessed).

Investigating an Engineering Project (Internally assessed).

Responding to an Engineering Brief (Externally assessed).

The set task is made up of two parts and will be completed in two hours for Part 1 and one and a half hours for Part 2 over a one week period in June.


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.

Meet the Staff

Mr I Glanville - Teacher and Team Leader for Design & Engineering

Ms M Lucas - Teacher for Design & Engineering

Ms M Whetman - TA/Technician for Technology