Design & Technology


About Design and Technology

We wear design; interact with design; we are influenced by design; we sit on, sleep in, download, drive, talk about, talk into and admire design. Yet, it is something we take for granted and we rarely consider how important it is to our everyday lives. Design, manufacture and technology fuel our economy and the UK has a long history of producing some of the best innovators and creative minds. The UK has the largest design industry in Europe and the second largest in the world. We excel in this area and the creative industries have changed the shape of employment hugely in recent years. There are many job opportunities in areas of Graphic and Digital design, alongside opportunities in Product and Fashion design and we are very proud of our past students who are now working as designers around the UK. 

Design is a dynamic industry and is worth over £50 billion a year in the UK. Design is ever changing; in fact designers are changing our lives forever.

D&T at Penglais

Design and Technology offers a unique opportunity for pupils to identify and solve real problems by designing and making products. This subject is interesting, fun and can lead to many careers. As well as learning design related skills, students will develop transferable skills that they can use in other subjects and skills that employers are looking for such as problem solving, using initiative, working with others, reflecting and improving on performance. Our subject develops our student’s imagination and creative ability in a practical and enjoyable environment.



Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

In Keys Stage 3 we provide units of work that are both interesting and relevant to our pupils and we constantly review the curriculum to ensure new projects. Students will complete modules in Resistant Materials, Graphics, Textiles and Food with each module lasting around 14 lessons and all are taught in specialist rooms. Each module allows students to develop their design and practical skills.



GCSE (Years 10-11)

Students can opt to take our subject at GCSE and Design and Technology provides many, many opportunities for creative, artistic or practical students. Subjects offered by our department for GCSE are:
Graphic Design
Resistant Materials
Textile/Fashion design
Engineering operations

Graphic Design

Designers can entice and encourage customers to buy a certain product, engage people reading information, and sell ideas and events through visual art. It touches so many different aspects of our life because graphic design includes creating brand identity (logos and advertising); publications (magazines, newspapers, and books); advertisements; company websites and product packaging. Graphic designers are versatile people who can bring written information to life with artistic and creative flair. They use an understanding of style, an ability to use design software and they communicate with clients to produce visual graphic products that meet commercial briefs.

Resistant Materials

Resistant Materials involves working with materials such as wood, plastic and metal to create innovative designs that solve real life problems. Resistant Materials prepares students well for an A level course in Product Design. Students learn a large number of manufacturing techniques; learn about design and the industry through this subject area.

Textiles/Fashion design

There are approximately over 12,000 clothing businesses and 156,000 people employed in the fashion and design industry in the UK. Approximately 20,000 people work as designers across the fashion and textiles sector. The fashion and textile design industry is broad and varied with opportunities to work in many different areas. Most fashion designers work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Some set up their own labels; some are self-employed, others cater to high-fashion department stores.

Engineering Operations NVQ

This course is equivalent to 2 GCSE’s and therefore takes up 2 option boxes. It is ideal for those pupil’s whose strengths are in their practical and making skills. The course is a vocational course and although there is an amount of paperwork, the bulk of the course is practical and hands on. There is no examination and the work is assessed throughout the two year course as the pupils carry out modules of work. These modules include hand-fitting skills, sheet metal skills, maintenance activities and mig-welding.


The Food Manufacturing industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with a turnover of £76.6bn. Food products that we put in our shopping baskets come about because of the huge number of people working in this industry. There are over 6,000 food and drink manufacturing companies in the UK alone and there are hundreds of thousands of restaurants throughout the UK. Catering allows students to develop their food preparation and cooking skills in a practical environment and a number of past students have used this course as a platform towards employment in the catering industry. 

A level Product Design

Product Design at A Level is an extremely popular course and it is suitable for those students who have completed GCSE Graphics, Resistant Materials or Textiles. Students can opt for the subject having not completed GCSE D&T, however, it is advisable that they have artistic ability, an ability to think creatively and have achieved a C grade in GCSE English.

A level Product Design involves a design project in both Years 12 and 13, with a written exam at the end of each year. The course prepares students very effectively for a degree or related course in Design and is taught by experienced teachers who have Product Design degrees. Students are encouraged to be innovative in solving design problems and a number of our students have had their work nominated and displayed in the annual WJEC innovation awards.

The course teaches students to use 3d design software, use modern manufacturing processes and develop their design skills whilst learning about design in theory lessons. It equips students with skills they will use in future employment as the ability to solve problems and think outside of the box underpins this exciting and interesting A level subject.

Vehicle Technology BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (motorsport)

 Here at Penglais School we have a working garage with tools and equipment found in a garage to simulate real situations in the workplace. We also have a couple of cars that the pupils will work on to learn the necessary skills required to pass the course. These cars become the pupils responsibility to work on and repair and prepare for various tasks. An opportunity for anyone who has an interest in cars, mechanics and motorsport to learn about the following:

  • How engines work
  • How a car runs and the different systems involved
  • How to identify and repair faults
  • How to change and repair components
  • How to compete in a Motorsport event
  • How a Motorsport team is run
  • How to work safely in a Motorsport environment
  • How to prepare a vehicle for a chosen specification in Motorsport
  • Car maintenance

The course also offers the opportunity to go to local garages to work alongside mechanics to learn skills they can use in a workplace. Pupils also get to go to various local road rallies and Rally GB to marshal and learn how to prepare a car for specific events.

This course can lead to a variety of options in the future, including mechanic, engineer, motorsport engineer, apprenticeships and various courses at Swansea University.



Recent D&T students

 Over the past ten years we have seen increased numbers of students pursue exciting careers as designers and this reflects the increased employment opportunities in this area as the world we live in has become digital. We are extremely proud of our past students who have become successful designers. We also have a number of past students on Design related courses across the UK who are making excellent progress. Below are just a few of our recent students and information as to where they are now.

Lydia Shaw – (Graphic Design) Works as International Web Designer for JD Williams clothing, Manchester  (you may know them more commonly for their plus size fashion brands Simply Be and Marisota). Lydia previously worked for the travel and leisure brand Haven in London. 

Dave Griffiths – Graphic and Digital Designer at Catch Digital, London. Recent design projects by the company have included work for Rimmel London, Virgin Atlantic, One Direction for their fragrances and Christiano Ronaldo. Dave previously worked for Sugar Creative in Cardiff as a Graphic Designer. 

Emma Lester – Digital and Graphic Designer at Karmarama Advertising Agency, London. Karmarama have recently worked on projects for Costa, Cobra, Honda, BT and BBC. Emma has previously worked as a Digital Designer for BodyShop where she designed their website, and as a UX/UI Designer for Haymarket Media Group in London.

Sian Hague – Designer at Previously a Freelance Graphic Designer and product developer. Sian is based in London. Some of Sian's previous clients have included London Zoo, Kew Botanical Gardens, Schwepps Coca-Cola. Sian also spent a few months working with Mealku New York, helping to redesign their product packaging.

Eleanor Rowlands – Fashion Designer based in London

Chris Morel – Lead Product Designer Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover

James Cummings – Automotive designer

Huw Hopkins – Qualified Product Designer with First Class honours now studying a Master’s degree in Product Design


We hope you enjoyed browsing reading about Design and Technology if you are a parent. The subject reflects the design world we live in and changes all the time (that is what makes this subject so interesting and exciting!). This page not only offers information about all the courses we offer but is also a celebration of pupils' work. If you have any questions regarding our subject then please email