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Prince William School

Resistant mAterials

GCSE Course Overview

At the start of Year 10 we work through a design and make project. Though this does not count towards the final GCSE grade it is an excellent opportunity for students to have a ‘dry run’ through this process in advance of their controlled assessment task which is a major part of their GCSE. We will also learn a range of skills and techniques that could be applied to their actual controlled assessment project.

Additionally in Year 10 we start to cover some of the theory topics that will form part of their examination paper. Students will be enthused and challenged by the range of practical activities possible. A working knowledge of woods, metals, plastics and composite materials will be required, but other materials may be used in addition. The use of new technologies is encouraged also.

The course specification is designed to foster awareness amongst pupils, of the need to consider sustainability and environmental impact of their designing.


  • Unit 1: A two hour written paper. This accounts for 40% of the total marks and is taken in Year 11.
  • Unit 2: Designing and Making Practice. This accounts for 60% of the total marks. This unit will normally commence in May of Year 10 and will comprise of approximately 45 hours of a design and make activity from a range of tasks set by the examination board.

Designing Skills

Pupils will be taught to:

  • be creative and innovative when designing;
  • design products to meet the needs of clients and consumers;
  • understand the design principles of form, function and fitness for purpose;
  • understand the role that designers and product developers have, and the impact and responsibility they have on and to society;
  • analyse and evaluate existing products, including those from professional designers;
  • develop and use design briefs and specifications for product development;
  • consider the conflicting demands that moral, cultural,  economic, and social values and needs can make in the planning and in the designing of products;
  • consider environmental and sustainability issues in designing products;
  • consider health and safety in all its aspects;
  • anticipate and design for product maintenance where appropriate;
  • design for manufacturing in quantity and to be aware of current commercial/industrial processes;
  • generate design proposals against stated design criteria, and to modify their proposals in the light of on-going analysis, evaluation and product development;
  • reflect critically when evaluating and modifying their design ideas and proposals in order to improve their products throughout inception and manufacture;
  • use, where appropriate, a range of graphic techniques and ICT (including digital media), including CAD, to generate, develop, model and communicate design proposals;
  • investigate and select appropriate materials/ingredients and components;
  • plan and organise activities which involve the use of materials/ingredients and components when developing or manufacturing;
  • devise and apply test procedures to check the quality of their work at critical/key points during development, and to indicate ways of modifying and improving it when necessary;
  • communicate the design proposal in an appropriate manner;
  • be flexible and adaptable when designing;
  • test and evaluate the final design proposal against the design specification;
  • evaluate the work of other designers to inform their own practice;
  • understand the advantages of working collaboratively as a member of a design team;
  • understand the need to protect design ideas.

Making Skills

Pupils will be taught to:

  • select and use tools/equipment and processes to produce quality products;
  • consider the solution to technical problems in the design and manufacture process;
  • use tools and equipment safely with regard to themselves and others;
  • work accurately and efficiently in terms of time,  materials/ingredients and components;
  • manufacture products applying quality control procedures;
  • have knowledge of Computer-Aided Manufacture (CAM) and to use as appropriate;
  • ensure, through testing, modification and evaluation, that the quality of their products is suitable for intended users and devise modifications where necessary that would improve the outcome(s);
  • understand the advantages of working as part of a team when designing and making products.


Theory and knowledge based skills taught to students

Pupils will gain a knowledge and understanding of the processes and techniques which aid manufacture and of the commercial and industrial applications of a range of materials involved in manufacturing their products in quantity. It is expected that designing and making will address complete product issues and therefore deal with materials which would aid manufacture, such as moulds,  cutting dies, printing blocks, jigs etc. as well as dealing with issues such as labelling and packaging. It will be important therefore that pupils learn to utilise a variety of suitable materials and components.

Whilst undertaking product analysis activities, it is expected that pupils will make detailed references to the materials used as well as the associated manufacturing issues.

Link to Specifications:

AQA GCSE Resistant Materials