GCSE Course Content

At Key Stage 4 the following subjects are available as an option:

GCSE Product Design AQA 4555 (2014 Specification)

2017-18 is the last cohort of students completing this specification

Course Content

GCSE Product Design encourages you to design and make products with creativity and originality in a variety of practical activities, using a range of materials and techniques. Packaging, labelling and instructions are also encouraged as part of the complete design proposal, while marketing tools, such as advertising and points of sale, can be used to supplement the making experience and help create products which can be evaluated for their commercial viability.

Exams and Controlled Assessment

Written Paper - 40% of GCSE

One exam for all students (2 hour paper) will contain a design question as well as testing students knowledge and understanding of Product Design

Controlled Assessment - 60% of GCSE

A single Design and Make activity including a detailed design folder and practical project.

Project Examples

  • Children's Toy
  • Flat Pack Furniture
  • Designer inspired Lamp/Clock
  • and many others

NEW GCSE Design and Technology AQA 8552

Course Content

The new qualification is modern and relevant, so students can learn about contemporary technologies, materials and processes, as well as established practices.

The new GCSE places greater emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. Students will use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

Exams and Controlled Assessment

Written Paper - 50% of GCSE

  • 2 hours
  • 100 marks

What's assessed

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles


  • 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 Exam Assessment

Student's will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence.

  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

What's assessed
Practical application of:

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles


  • 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

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

Example Contextual Challenge

  • A high profile sporting event
  • Addressing the needs of the elderly
  • Children’s learning and play

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition.​

Course Content

We are completing the EDUQAS syllabus and it is split 3 ways;

15% (NEA 1) of final mark is a science investigation which will assess the learners knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to scientific principles underlying the preparation and cooking of food

35% (NEA 2) of final mark is to prepare and cook a menu which assesses the learners knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking and presentation of food.

50% Written examination of1 hour 45 minutes which will assess the content of the course covered over the 2 years

This course is structured to enable you to understand where food comes from- looking at issues such as sustainability and food waste. Each half term will be split into focussing on a different commodity and the recipes cooked for that half term will focus on that commodity. Each half term will also include a science element where we will be investigating such questions as 'how does cooking vegetables affect the vitamin C content of that vegetable?'

GCSE Catering

WJEC Level 1/2 Hospitality and Catering

This is a more practical course for those learners more interested in the Food industry. The assessment will take 2 forms:

  • Unit 1- Hospitality and Catering Industry- Online assessment (90 minute exam)
    The focus- apply their learning by considering all aspects of the vocational sector
  • Unit 2 Hospitality and Catering in Action – Controlled assessment
    ​The focus- Students apply their learning to safely prepare, cook and present nutritional dishes.


Following completion of a GCSE in Catering, successful candidates would be able to consider a higher Qualification in Catering such as a Diploma in Professional Cooking or BTEC in Hospitality and Catering, which could lead to a career in the Hospitality and Catering Industry. Careers you might be interested in:

  • Chef
  • Kitchen Manager
  • Restaurant Management
  • Hotel Management

GCSE Child Development

Course Content

GCSE Child Development is designed to equip you with an understanding of the development and needs of children of 0-5 years of age and promote good parenting. You should be interested in children and be prepared to visit and record information on a chosen child.

Exams and Controlled Assessment

  • Written Paper - 40% of GCSE: There is a terminal examination of 1½ hours
  • Controlled Assessment - 60% of GCSE: Three short tasks - one investigative task and two practical tasks on topics such as weaning and contraception and an individual study of a child between 0-5 years


  • Prepare for a career in nursing or teaching
  • Lead into the CACHE course and other courses such as DCE which are acceptable as qualifications for employment in nurseries and schools
  • DCE is equivalent to 3 A-levels which could lead to University education in nursing or social work

BTEC Engineering

Course Content

BTEC Engineering Gives learners the opportunity to gain a broad understanding and knowledge of the engineering sector & develop a range of personal skills and techniques, through the selection of optional generic units that are essential for successful performance in working life

Exams and Controlled Assessment

Students undertake 7 units: 5 internally assessed units and 2 Externally Assessed Examinations


Gives full-time learners the opportunity to enter potential employment within a wide range of engineering sectors such as mechanical, automotive and electrical.

August 2020


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