Design Engineering has been added to My Courses


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Create, innovate, solve problems and shape our future with Design Engineering. Explore through iterative design, the world of mechanical and electrically controlled products. Students study the technical principles of Engineering to design a product as a major coursework project.    

In our modern and developing Design and Technology facilities, you'll apply technical skills to test and create 3D functional products through various design approaches including hand sketching, CAD and 3D model making. 

Both Design Engineering and Product Design courses lead to the same qualification so cannot be taken together.  Design Engineering is compatible with most other A-level courses, depending on your chosen career path. Due to coursework workload we would not advise you to do three creative/heavy coursework subjects. The exact combination can lead to different career options and can be discussed with staff at enrolment events. Some career paths such as engineering or architecture may also require Maths or Physics A-level so although the essential Math and Science knowledge is covered in this course we recommend extra Math or Science subjects to studies to support this.

In 2023 A-level Design Engineering student progress was significantly higher than national benchmarks.


Course content

First Year

Students will cover the theory content and essential Maths skills for the exams. The students will be inducted into the workshop facilities and experiment with a variety of design and making skills with access to the DT workshop and technician. To enable students to develop the industry standard skills they need for visual communication and virtual testing, students are expected to work through an additional CAD course (which runs alongside the A-level) and cover software such as SOLIDWORKS and Google SketchUp.

In term 3 the students will then begin their NEA (non-exam assessment) coursework where they will design and make a prototype mechanical product or device. They have to make regular contact with a stakeholder who they design for and conduct industrial investigations where work experience is highly advised. Students need to take a project management approach to their coursework and lead themselves through an investigation and iterative design portfolio. These portfolios are a perfect tool for them to present at interview and to explore career options for their future.

Second Year

The coursework is finalised and completed by the end for term 2. There is a college exhibition of the student’s project to display their work and give them the opportunity to invite professionals to give them feedback and establish links for their future career paths. Term 3 until the end of the course is focused solely on exam revision with 2 challenging exams to complete the course in June.

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The resources for the subject knowledge follows the OCR Design Technology student book and is enhanced and supported with a series of design tasks and online resources. Students are expected to develop an independent approach to their coursework and revision with regular feedback and interventions to support.

Methods of Assessment

The OCR final assessment is through one large iterative design project and two written examinations. There is a Maths & Physics content in the examined unit equalling 25% of the grade. This is at higher tier GCSE Maths level and will be taught as part of the theory content for the course.

Unit 1

Principles of Product Design



Unit 2

Problem Solving



Unit 3

Iterative Design Project




Design and Technology has a purpose built suite of rooms complete with a CAD room, design studio and workshop including a range of industry standard CNC machines and 3D printers.


Access to a PC at home will be an advantage as you will be able to download CAD software. Students will also be required to pay around £20 per year towards materials for their coursework project, a revision guide and home access to 3D modelling software. The cost of all trips will be the responsibility of the student. Financial assistance is available if required through the student bursary scheme, this should be applied for immediately after enrolment in August.


External visits are being coordinated and professional visits are frequent across the course. Further STEM coordination of Design and Technology is being developed specifically for the student’s direct needs and to inspire their projects and post St Brendan’s options.


Students can develop their studies through a range of higher education courses or apprenticeships. Students will have access to careers in engineering, construction, architecture, civil engineering, product design, computer aided design and will also be able to pursue further into electronics and programming. Previous students have gained apprenticeships with companies including GKN, Airbus, Babcock, Integral and Rolls Royce amongst others or studied degree subjects such as Automotive Engineering, Robotics and Architecture.


Students must also provide the following:

  • Scientific calculator (not on a phone)
  • A4 lever arch ring bound folder & 10 tab dividers
  • A4 lined pad or exercise book for notes
  • Sketching pencil, rubber, 30cm ruler, protactor
  • Pritt stick
  • Pen

Where can this course lead?

Apply for this course

Find out how to apply for A-level Design Engineering.

Design Engineering has been added to My Courses