Innovation and Design

Departmental approach to the curriculum

Welcome to the Innovation & Design page. Here you will find out everything you need to know about our department including what we teach and how we assess our pupils.

Innovation & Design at The Rickmansworth School aims to inspire and motivate students through a demanding, stimulating, and innovative curriculum. It is a department of enthusiastic teachers with expertise in each of its GCSE subject areas, supported by a full time technician. Lessons are taught in purpose built Design rooms with suitable state-of-the-art and well-equipped, specialist classrooms and workshops.

Projects provide interest, challenge and are relevant to modern life. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, and computing. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation they will analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden on daily life and the wider world. High quality Innovation Design education makes an essential contribution to the resilience, creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.

KS3 lessons build skills, prepare students for their GCSEs and equip them for later life, through an appreciation of design.‘The original idea makes design distinctive, function makes it work and quality adds value ‘ Serge Zuev

The students have the opportunity to complete practical tasks in each module and are encouraged to take these items home.



Long Term Curriculum Overviews

Due to timetable changes these are currently in development. 

Year 7

Resistant Materials 

In Resistant Materials, we aim to explore as many materials and manufacturing processes as possible, whilst holding design and creativity central to all learning. In Year 7, students undertake a desk tidy project. Students work with acrylic, mdf and wood and use processes such as line bending and drilling to create their products. Their work is then assessed using a range of criteria based on their design and making skills.

Project: Bottle Desk tidy project*

Textiles Technology

Students are introduced to the basic textiles skills needed to complete a design and make project and learn the basic equipment used in textiles as well as safety measures to follow in the workshop. Students are informed of the different ways to add colour and design to fabrics in order to design and make a face mask that can be used by a child to be worn to a party for children or for a costume show while showing creativity and flare.

Project: Face masks* 


* From time to time these projects change.

Year 8

Resistant Materials

In year 8 we introduce students to 2D design, which is a CAD (computer aided design) piece of software. Students are encouraged to develop their CAD skills at a young age, as these skills give students the ability to explore more creative ideas and open up pathways to otherwise unavailable manufacturing possibilities.

We are lucky enough to have a laser cutter in the department and through this Photo frame and door name project, students learn how to set their work up and use the machinery available to them.

 Project: Photo frame/door name project*

Textiles Technology

In year 8 students will design and produce a 2 layer repeat print based on Celtic designs. Students will learn about Celtic designs, the tie-dye process, the different types of repeated designs and how to create a reduction print block, and will create their own printed textile.

Project: Printed textile*


* From time to time these projects change.

Year 9

Resistant Materials

In year 9, we expect students to be able to combine a range of traditional manufacturing skills with new CAD / CAM processes. Using a range of manufacturing processes, students are challenged to design, package and market a bottle opener and are given a choice of client to design for, be it children, teenagers or adults.

 Project: Bottle Opener and packaging*

Textiles Technology

In year 9 students will design and produce a collaged and hand embroidered window hanging. Students will learn about Zentangle and Mandala designs, will  make their own collaged textile, and will embroider it with a range of stitches and colours based on their designs. 

 Project: Collaged textile*


* From time to time these projects change.

Year 10 and 11


GCSE Design and Technology (AQA 8552)


What's assessed

• Core technical principles

• Specialist technical principles

• Designing and making principles

In addition: • at least 15% of the exam will assess maths • at least 10% of the exam will assess science.

How it's assessed • Written exam: 2 hours • 100 marks • 50% of GCSE Questions

Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks) A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.

Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks) Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.

Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks) A mixture of short answer and extended response questions. 

Non Examined Assessment (NEA)

What's assessed

Practical application of:

• Core technical principles

• Specialist technical principles

• Designing and making principles

How it's assessed

• Non-exam assessment (NEA):

30–35 hours approx

• 100 marks

• 50% of GCSE


• Substantial design and make task

• Assessment criteria:

• Identifying and investigating design possibilities

• Producing a design brief and specification

• Generating design ideas

• Developing design ideas

• Realising design ideas

• Analysing & evaluating

• In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above should be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner

• Contextual challenges to be released annually by AQA on 1 June in the year prior to the submission of the NEA

• Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence

• Work will be marked by teachers and moderated by AQA

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 


Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.


Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child succeed in design technology?

To be confirmed once the board has been selected.

Helpful websites and further information