New GCE AS and A level Subject Content for Design and Technology Published

Published 21st December 2015

The subject content required for GCE AS and A level specifications in design and technology has now been published by the Department for Education.  This brings to a close the consultation on the D&T curriculum content for primary and secondary education.  The Subject content builds on that prescribed at GCSE and provides the detail to inform the work of Awarding Organisations (AOs) that will now develop the examination specifications.

The content should not represent too many surprises for schools already teaching D&T to A level, but there are some changes which will require schools to address their current programmes.

Ofqual have also published the Confirmed assessment arrangements for reformed GCSE, AS and A level qualifications for first teaching in 2017. These set out the assessment objectives against which students will be assessed and confirm the 50:50 ratio between examination and non-examined assessment.

The GCE subject content is divided up into core technical principles and core designing and making principles. These must be covered by all students studying the subject. In addition, the section: Additional specialist knowledge, sets out the in depth expertise in specialist areas.  Three subject endorsed titles are permitted:

  • design and technology (product design)
  • design and technology (fashion and textiles)
  • design and technology (design engineering)

It states that GCE D&T specifications may: ‘offer one of more endorsed titles, which should prepare students for tertiary education and/or work-based study and training in the design, creative, engineering and/or manufacturing industries.’

This flexibility should allow AOs to create specifications that move the subject forward, but at the same time, allow schools who are limited by the resource they have to develop programmes that reflect the use of a particular category of materials and related design and making activity.

As is the case with D&T GCSE, we eagerly await the publications of draft specifications which are not anticipated being available before May 2016.

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