Design and Technology

Welcome to Design and Technology

Design and Technology at Balcarras has something for everyone! Pupils gain skills and knowledge in a wide range of material areas including product design, food and nutrition and textiles. Our exciting projects develop pupils' independence, problem solving skills and allow them to make mistakes and learn from these. Design and Technology is the ultimate subject to apply knowledge from a range of other subjects including art, maths, geography, and business. Through D&T, these subjects can be brought to life in products that solve real world problems.


Design and Technology allows pupils to develop skills that employers want such as teamwork, problem solving and creativity. There are a huge range of careers linked to D&T – everything from interior design, graphic design, food science and fashion.

Design and Technology is a very popular subject at Balcarras School, and we pride ourselves in allowing our students to innovate, experiment and take risks in their design work. D&T at Balcarras is modern and forward-thinking and pupils thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the subject.

In Design and Technology, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum that is relevant to the modern world. Pupils are encouraged to enjoy their learning through the design and development of projects that link to their interests and hobbies. A sense of achievement is ever present in D&T lessons – from completing a challenging recipe in Food, mastering a complex sewing technique in Textiles or finally solving a design problem in GCSE Product Design.

Numeracy and literacy are at the heart of our subject. Strong communication skills are developed through annotation and analysis. Design and Technology offers many cross-curricular links including science, maths and art. We constantly foster students technical abilities and offer a huge range of extra-curricular opportunities such as guest speakers from the design industry, trips to the BMW Mini Plant (Y12) and the Arkwright Scholarship to name just a few.

The Department

The Design and Technology department comprises six teachers, supported by three technicians. The department occupies a suite of seven specialist rooms.

The department is highly successful at all key stages, and makes a significant contribution to the overall success of the school. This includes a strong record in external examinations at both GCSE and Advanced Level. Standards are excellent as the result of a well-structured curriculum that is well taught. The Design & Technology department enjoys the respect of the school and is well supported by parents and governors.

There is excellent access to ICT across the department and CADCAM is embedded within the KS3 and KS4 curriculum. We currently have seven 3D printers in the department as well as a CNC Router and Laser Cutter. ICT is an established element of GCSE courses and specialised software is used to develop design proposals and model practical solutions (CorelDraw, Crumble and SpaceClaim). The department uses e-portfolios in product design and textiles.

Learning Journey




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Curriculum map Key Stage 3

 Curriculum map Product Design

Curriculum map Textiles

 Curriculum map Food preparation and nutrition

Key Stage 3

A structured KS3 course ensures that all students experience the full range of design and technological activity. An induction course in year seven is followed by more in-depth activities where students are expected to work with a wide range of materials and components, including electronics. The department regularly monitors all aspects of the KS3 curriculum to ensure consistency of approach and delivery, and progress is tracked through a comprehensive recording system. The department works closely with feeder primaries.


At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to follow Design and Technology courses to examination level, and we currently offer GCSE Design and Technology (product design and textiles specialisms), both AQA, and  EDUQAS Food Preparation and Nutrition. Students are supported extensively throughout their courses with a broad range of VLE resources and after school sessions.

A level 

Post-16, the department offers advanced level courses in D&T: Product Design (AQA) and Art and Design (Textiles) (AQA). We also offer Level 3 Food Science and Nutrition (WJEC). These courses lead onto a range of future study and career options as listed below:

Students go on to study a wide range of subjects after completing an A Level in Product Design including:

  • Product Design
  • Design Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Furniture Design
  • Graphic Design 
  • and many more...

Level 3 Food Science and Nutrition can help students pursue careers in:

  • Food Marketing and Advertising
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Food Product Development
  • Sport Science
  • As well as various healthcare settings..

Art Textiles future careers include:

  • Costume Design
  • Interior Design
  • Fabric Print Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Fashion Marketing

The department has strong links with local industry, and designers and engineers regularly visit the department to talk to students. Students are encouraged to take part in a range of extra curricular activities some of which are listed below

  • The Arkwright Scholarship Scheme
  • Kohler Mira STEM Events
  • Gloucestershire Rotary Technology Competition
  • Secondary Leaders Award

Jennifer Swanepoel
Head of Design & Technology