Materials Technology

Overview of KS3

Year 7 students are taught Design & Technology on a rotation, where their school year is divided equally, to enable them to experience Graphics, Materials Technology, Textiles and Food Technology.

In Year 7 pupils will design and make an MDF money box in the theme of an endangered animal. Pupils will learn the basic health and safety procedures within the workshop. This will include learning how to accurately and safely use hand tools and workshop machinery. Alongside their practical work, pupils will be set an initial homework task to complete a themed mood board to help them design their money box ideas. They will follow the design process through an accompanying booklet and complete a range of written and drawing tasks including; product analysis, design ideas and an evaluation.

In year 8 pupils have the opportunity to choose to study Materials Technology for the whole year. Pupils have 1 lesson per week; the year is split into 2 main projects; the Designer Mood Light and Portable Speaker. Both projects are run as complete projects which follow the design process, starting with initial research, then onto design ideas, development, Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, traditional manufacturing process and evaluation.

Designer Mood Light

Pupils will design and make a Mood Light based on a designer of their choice. The project allows for pupils to learn a new set of skills and manufacturing processes which differ from Year 7 including how to safely and accurately solder an electronic circuit, how to vacuum form HIPs using an MDF mould, CAD/CAM processes (2D Design and laser cutting), sublimation printing (and using the heat press to transfer the image).

Alongside their practical work, pupils will be set an initial homework task to create an A5 information booklet based on their chosen designer which will be used to inspire their design ideas. They will follow the design process through an accompanying booklet and complete a range of written and drawing tasks including; product analysis, design ideas and an evaluation.

Portable Speaker

The portable speaker project aims to build on students’ knowledge from previous projects. The practical outcome is manufactured using comb or lap joints which pupils will learn how to make. In this project, pine is used and pupils will learn about finishing materials. The project allows for pupils to further their skills in soldering an electronic circuit, as well as using CAD/CAM processes (2D Design and laser cutting). Pupils will also have the opportunity to design and then 3D print a dock for their phone. Again, pupils will follow the design process through an accompanying booklet.

Overview of KS4

Pupils opt in Year 9 for the GCSE in Materials Technology. In year 9, pupils start to work in a sketchbook for their initial design work and a portfolio for their formal written work and design presentations. Students begin to follow the iterative design process, which prepares them for the examination process in year 9. Students complete a series of practical tasks, which aim to build practical skills as well as linked theoretical knowledge.

Pewter Keyring

Pupils design and make a pewter keyring, they develop their CAD skills to design and laser cut an MDF mould. Pupils then use the low-temperature casting machine to cast their own pewter. Pupils will learn how to file and shape metal to achieve a high-quality finish.

Pupils design ideas in their sketchbook and complete metal-based theory tasks alongside. Google Sketch Up will be used to draw up their design in 3D Design software, and pupils will 3D print their design as a prototype.

Angle-Poise Lamp

Pupils design and make an angle-poise lamp. Pupils are encouraged to work independently to complete their pine frame and will learn the importance of accuracy when manufacturing, and learn how to finish natural timbers. Pupils continue to build their CAD-CAM skills to laser cut their shades and bases. They wire their own LED circuit and cut and shape an aluminium battery holder. The project will link to theoretical knowledge of mechanisms, levers and materials.

Laminated Clock

Pupils will be introduced to a range of industrial practices through a focussed-practical task of a laminated clock, using the bag press equipment to layer and shape plywood. Pupils will design ideas in their sketchbook based on the various moulds available to them, covering exam content alongside practical tasks.

In year 10, pupils will be given creative freedom to upcycle a glass bottle into a product of their choice, using the glass bottle cutter. We will cover renewable and non-renewable energy as part of the project. Pupils may wish to use manufacturing methods and materials from previous projects to produce their final piece. Projects may include lamps, coat hooks and other decorative items.

Educational Toy – Mock NEA (Non- Exam Assessment)

This project was an exam context set by the exam board in 2018. It will be run as a mock NEA to enable pupils to have a “trial run” of a full NEA (worth 50% of the overall grade) before their real one in Y11. Example products from previous students have including puzzles, shape sorters, pull-along-toys, toy-clocks and cam toys. Pupils will be expected to complete paperwork and practical work to a high quality. They will also learn exam content through researching the NEA contexts and content needed for individual projects.

In year 11, pupils work towards their final GCSE grade. There are two main areas of assessment; NEA (Non-Examined Assessment) and a written exam.  Both are equal weightings of 50%, 50% and make up the overall Grade.

Non-Examined-Assessment (NEA)

The NEA theme is released each year in June by the exam board. Pupils are given 3 very short ‘contexts’ which are usually broad topics, to allow candidates to take them in a direction of their choice. Pupils must identify multiple design possibilities, with a strong emphasis on user needs and wants.

The NEA is structured in a way in which the following core knowledge and understanding topics will be covered:


The content is broken down into 2 sections, Core and In-depth Knowledge.

Core knowledge and understanding – five clear and distinct topic areas:

Pupils must answer all questions in the core knowledge section.

In-depth knowledge and understanding – Pupils will be asked more in-depth questions and must select questions from 1 of the following six topics:

  1. electronic systems, programmable components and mechanical devices
  2. papers and boards
  3. natural and manufactured timber
  4. ferrous and non-ferrous metals
  5. thermoforming and thermosetting polymers
  6. fibres and textiles

Pupils will complete a Mock Exam in December which is usually the exam paper from the previous June. Students take a break from their NEA to revise for the exam. Revision materials are all available on Google Classrooms and the Eduqas website.


Grade Ladders

Grade ladders show the skills/content that a pupil is required to demonstrate to reach each particular grade. These can be used by pupils and parents in targeting what they need to do to make progress in each subject.

Year 7
Year 8 – Moodlight

Year 8 – Portable Speaker
Year 9
Key Stage 4

Curriculum Intent

Please be aware these documents are only draft versions.

Materials Technology

Wickersley Sixth Form Induction Day: 5th & 6th July |Y6 Transition Information