Statement to Parliament: Design and technology GCSE

We are reforming GCSEs to make sure that they give students the best possible preparation for further and higher education, and for employment. We want new GCSEs to set expectations which match those of the best education systems in the world, with rigorous assessment that provides a reliable measure of students’ achievement. The reforms are extensive and represent a new qualification gold standard.

Today we are publishing design and technology GCSE content that will assess both breadth and depth of knowledge, without limiting students on the materials they can work with. Current design and technology GCSEs have a wide range of titles each of which is focused on separate material areas (such as resistant materials, textiles or graphics). The new content will support a single qualification title, a change which subject experts felt is critical to the development of a qualification that requires students to have a broad knowledge of the design processes, materials, techniques and equipment that are core to the subject.

The content emphasises iterative processes of designing which all students should understand and be able to demonstrate. Subject experts have advised that such processes are at the core of contemporary practice. By teaching students this approach, the new qualification will prepare them for further study and careers in design, engineering, manufacturing and related areas.

The content also sets out, in detail, the mathematical and scientific content that students must know and use that relate closely to design and technology.

Together these changes aim to ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills to design and make products or prototypes, using the best material, equipment and techniques, to solve real-world and relevant problems across a range of contexts.

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