Design and Technology

In This Section

We aim to encourage students to recognise the importance of Design and Technology in everyday life for their own personal development and future careers.

In years 7, 8 and 9, students undertake a variety of projects using a range of products such as aluminium, plastic and wood, electronics and other graphic materials. ICT, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and manufacture are important aspects of our delivery. Our classrooms have a variety of types of machinery which students use during their practical and theoretical projects; ranging from traditional workshop machines to modern equipment such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and vinyl cutters.

In Food Technology lessons, students get the chance to prepare food across a range of healthy options, covering core skills in savoury and sweet recipes. Our demonstration and practical lessons take place in two purpose-built kitchens. Some of the necessary materials and ingredients are provided by the department with a voluntary contribution from each student. Food Technology lessons enable students to experiment with ingredients which they might not commonly choose, and allow them to take their creations home following each practical lesson.

During Textiles lessons, students have the opportunity to experience and use a range of modern techniques including electronic textiles and sublimation printing to produce everyday functional items.

A Design and Technology homework club is offered every lunchtime, when students have the chance to further their personal learning with the support of experienced supervision. There is a wide range of booster sessions for key stage 4 students after school and during lunchtimes to support them in completing their controlled assessment or revising for exams.


Level 1/2 Hospitality and Catering

Exam board: Eduquas
Course code: 601/4544/4
Contact: Mrs C Gould –; Miss C Moore –

Aims of the course:

“It has made me think seriously about what I want to do as a career. I now think I may go into the food industry. The lessons are very hands-on and give you good training in organisational skills and time management, which I think also helps me at home.”

– Student

  • gives an awareness of the catering/hospitality industry
  • encourages organisation skills
  • encourages the identification of customer needs and eating trends in a multicultural society
  • develops a knowledge of nutrition and the relationship between diet and health
  • acknowledges the importance of cost effectiveness when menu planning
  • provides opportunities to work individually and as part of a team
  • develops creativity and interest in food preparation, presentation and service

All specialist equipment is provided by school. Students will need to provide most of the ingredients themselves for practical sessions every other week.

What will I study?

Students apply their learning to safely prepare, cook and present nutritional dishes. They will draw on their learning of different types of provision, and kitchen and front of house operations, as well as personal safety in their preparations. The content is relevant not only to employees within food production, but also those with a responsibility for food safety in the industry, nutritionists and managers and owners. This extends the student’s appreciation of the whole vocational area beyond the kitchen environment.

The theory part of the course covers:

  • meanings of food related terms
  • equipment
  • safety and first aid
  • recipe adaption
  • healthy eating
  • presentation techniques
  • environmental issues
  • the hospitality industry
  • types of service
  • job roles
  • planning for functions
  • team work and communication

How will I be assessed?

One written exam (1hr 50mins) worth 40%, plus one piece of practical coursework (cooking two courses), worth 60%.

Course outcomes

Level 1 Pass (equivalent to grades 1-3)
Level 2 Pass (equivalent to grades 4-5)
Level 2 Merit (equivalent to grades 6-7)
Level 2 Distinction (equivalent to grade 8)
Level 2 Distinction* (equivalent to grade 9)

What careers could I pursue?

Hospitality and catering is a growing sector of the jobs market and there are numerous opportunities within this industry from retail, to hotel work, or working as a chef. There is also the opportunity to attend college and study catering to Level 3 or degree level.

Level 1/2 Engineering Design

Exam board: OCR
Course code: J841
Contact: Mr T Stanley |

Engineering Design covers a wide range of activities based on designing and making products that are manufactured using materials such as wood, metal and plastic in many forms. As well as learning hand skills, you will use a range of industrial processes to shape and form materials into functioning products.

What will I study?

Students learn a range of practical skills that enable them to solve and adapt to a wide range of challenges. Students will gain valuable transferable skills that will prepare them well for a range of exciting and rewarding career opportunities. Students learn important theoretical principles using a kinaesthetic approach that deepens their understanding of the subject and gives them relevant transferable skills.

The CAD element of this course enables students to showcase exciting and creative designs in a modern way that will make students highly employable and well prepared for careers in design and engineering.

Students need to be:

  • imaginative and creative
  • problem solvers
  • independent thinkers
  • organised and able to meet deadlines
  • team players

How will I be assessed?

Four units, each worth 25%:

  • written exam – Design briefs, design specifications and user requirement
  • product analysis and research task – how products are made
  • developing and presenting engineering designs
  • 3D design realisation – making task

Course outcomes

Cambridge Nationals Level 1 or 2 Certificate (equivalent to GCSE).

Level 1 Pass (equivalent to grades 1-3)
Level 2 Pass (equivalent to grades 4-5)
Level 2 Merit (equivalent to grades 6-7)
Level 2 Distinction (equivalent to grade 8)
Level 2 Distinction* (equivalent to grade 9)

What careers could I pursue?

This course leads directly to a wide range of careers in design, engineering, architecture, and construction.

It will also give students attributes that will help with careers in ICT, business and marketing by giving them the insight to understand how products work and appeal to different user groups.

Students can continue to study Design and Technology at A Level or Level 3 vocational courses in Engineering, Construction, Architecture and Agriculture.

Level 1/2 Hair and Beauty

Exam board: WJEC
Course code: 601/0556/2
Contact: Mr J Steel |

This qualification has been developed for students with an interest in hairdressing and beauty therapy. You will gain the skills and knowledge required to progress to hair and beauty apprenticeships, or onto vocational qualifications in this subject area or other further education or university courses.

On finishing this course, you will:

  • develop a broad understanding of the hair and beauty sector
  • develop significant knowledge which spans the entire vocational sector and related industries
  • develop academic and study skills that will support progression within the hair and beauty sector and, more broadly, across the range of sectors

What will I study?

Students will gain an understanding of the hair and beauty sector and undertake a research project. They will also have the opportunity to study business enterprise, marketing and promotions in hair and beauty, to look at the science of hair and beauty and to respond to a hair and beauty design brief.

As well as developing knowledge and skills in researching, science, business, marketing and design, students will develop further skills which will support them into further study, including:

  • critical thinking and being reflective on self-performance and work produced
  • use of initiative
  • planning and researching skills
  • self-management, self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • innovation and creativity
  • application of knowledge and understanding to real life examples and businesses
  • problem solving
  • communication skills – verbal, written and visual

How will I be assessed?

  • Aural examination
  • Coursework
  • E-assessment
  • Multiple choice examination
  • Oral examination
  • Portfolio of evidence
  • Practical demonstration/assignment
  • Practical examination
  • Task-based controlled assessment
  • Written examination

Course outcomes

1 x Level 2 qualification (equivalent to GCSE); Pass, Merit or Distinction

What careers could I pursue?

  • Hairdressing
  • Beauty industry
  • Holistic therapies

Level 1/2 Construction

Exam board: WJEC
Course code: 601/0543/4
Contact: Mr J Steel –; Mr T Stanley –

How many professionals in other industries can point at the brand-new hospital in town and say “I helped to build that”?

Whether it’s a road, a home, a sewage system or a school, the things you build matter to the people in your community

This course has been designed to allow students to develop the understanding and skills related to a range of job roles in construction. The units provide an overview of technical roles – such as bricklayers, carpenters and electricians as well as professional roles such as site inspectors, project managers and architects – and how they work together to complete construction projects.

What will I study?

The course is for students who want to learn about the construction industry from the build perspective. It provides you with a broad introduction to the different trades involved in the sector and the types of career opportunities available. It is mainly suitable as a foundation for further study. This further study could provide you with the awareness of the work of different types of job roles in the sector such as plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers. As a result, you may wish to start an apprenticeship or continue with your studies in order to pursue those job roles.

How will I be assessed?

Unit one: safety and security in construction – external online assessment
Unit two: practical construction skills – internal assessment
Unit three: planning construction projects

Course outcomes

Level 1/2 award. A pass or higher in the Level 2 qualification is equivalent to one GCSE grade 9-4, dependent on grade (Pass, Merit or Distinction).

What careers could I pursue?

A strong construction industry equals a strong economy. Construction projects provide jobs, inject both funds and new life into a community, and create the infrastructure critical to keeping the country moving forward.

At the end of every day at work, you’ll be able to see the progress you and your team have made. Watching that progress turn into a completed project, day by day, is one of the most rewarding parts of a construction job.

Every day is something new and every construction site brings interesting challenges. You’ll also get to change things up with each new project.

Collaborating with your team to overcome obstacles and fix problems on the job site is another way you’ll put your skills to use. Strong networks are formed on construction projects because everyone on the team depends on everyone else to get the job done.

Retford Oaks Academy