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Design Engineering (A Level)

Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It's coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly’. James Dyson

Design Engineering is focused towards engineered, mechanical and electronic products and systems. Students completing the course successfully will have taken design risks, showing innovation and enterprise whilst considering their role as responsible designers and citizens. 

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that ‘the UK will need more than a million new engineers and technicians by 2020 to meet industry demand.’ A wide variety of possible careers stem from this course, that could include many kinds of engineering and technical careers such as electrical/electronic engineer, special effects, animatronics, computer programming, microcontroller programming, music technology, lighting engineer, games programmer, robotics, control engineer, motor vehicle engineering, aviation/aeronautical engineering or designing any electronic product from mobile phones to spacecraft etc.

There is no shortage of jobs within Engineering. Destinations for A-Level Engineering students have, in the past, included Engineering degrees at Cambridge University, University of Sheffield, Leeds University and other institutions on courses including Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechatronic and Robotic Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Design for Industry and Civil and Structural Engineering.

Entry Requirements

5 in Technology, 6 in Maths and a 5 in Physics.

Qualities Required

A passion for solving problems and designing and making functional products or systems. An interest in electronics and/or mechanics is a huge advantage. This must be an interest that you are keen to take beyond merely theoretical knowledge that you could gain elsewhere, but to realise that knowledge into actual products that work. You should enjoy understanding how things work, taking things apart, building things, fixing them and analysing a problem.

Links with Other Subjects

Design Engineering  is part of a suite with STEM subjects. Maths and Physics should be seriously considered by anyone looking to pursue engineering at a higher level after sixth form.

Exam Board


Method of Assessment


  • 50% Externally Assessed Iterative Design Project
  • 50% Internally Assessed
Units of Study

Students will study towards their A-Level through a mixture of coursework and exams.​Tapton School follows the OCR specification.  The content has the following  principal purposes:​

  • be open to taking design risks, showing innovation and enterprise whilst considering their role as responsible designers and citizens​
  • be able to work safely and skilfully to produce high-quality prototypes/products​
  • become independent and critical thinkers who can adapt their technical knowledge and understanding to different design situations​
  • develop the ability to draw on and apply a range of skills and knowledge from other subject areas, including the use of mathematics and science for analysis and informing decisions in design​
  • develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of materials, components and processes associated with the creation of products that can be tested and evaluated in use​
  • The curriculum is delivered through focused practical tasks, plus input on theory.​​

In Year 12 students cover a wide range of skills and knowledge required in the design and making of a variety of mechanical, timber, polymer and metal-based projects.​

In Year 13, students complete the coursework (started in Year 12), which consists of a chronological portfolio and a fully functioning 3D product.​