Head of Department

Mr J J TaylorBA, QTS

Designers and Engineers make our everyday lives more efficient, safe and enjoyable. This subject is one that will constantly develop and adapt to the outside world. Pupils at Cranleigh experience the latest cutting edge technology as they harness the skills that allow them to stay ahead of the curve in today’s fast moving and ever changing society.


The Design Engineering department at Cranleigh offers OCR Design & Technology at GCSE, leading to Design Engineering and Product Design at A Level. These specifications aim to assess a student’s design and manufacturing capability whilst rewarding and recognising imagination, creativity, innovation and flair. We welcome any pupil, whether they’ve previously experienced a design and technology course or have simply shown an interest or passion for the subject. This subject is highly valuable for a career in any sphere of product or industrial design, engineering, architecture, graphics, fashion, media or marketing. It is also a strong supporting A Level for degree courses in any of the pure or applied sciences. 


GCSE Design and Technology develops thinking skills leading towards invention and design innovation, to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, preparing learners to become critical and creative designers, engineers and consumers of the future. Drawing on authentic design practice and contemporary technologies, students will be able to engage in a variety of contexts to understand and appreciate the design and manufacture of existing products, making them more empathetic designers and more discriminating purchasers. Students will learn to deliver their thinking and design skills through iterative design processes that allow them to ‘explore, create and evaluate’ following practices and strategies used by the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries.

In their second year of the course pupils submit a Non-Examined Assessment (formerly known as coursework) worth 50% of the final mark and sit a theory exam worth 50%.

A Level

The Design Engineering A Level is focused towards engineered and electronic products and systems; the analysis of these in respect of their function, operation, components and materials, in order to understand their application and uses in engineered products/systems that have commercial viability.

The Product Design A Level is focused towards consumer products and applications; their analysis in respect of materials, components, and marketability to understand their selection and uses in industrial and commercial practices or product development. 

Both A Level courses are designed to build on the foundations of GCSE Design and Technology. Although studying Design and Technology at GCSE is not essential for these courses, it is certainly recommended.

Both courses are assessed via two written exam papers and a Non-Examined Assessment (NEA). The two written papers assess the “theoretical principles of the subject” (26.7%) and the “creative problem solving” (23.3%) ability of candidates.  The NEA (50%) is known as an ‘Iterative Design Project’ and requires candidates to undertake a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate. Learners identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of their own choice, and create a portfolio of evidence in real time through the project to demonstrate their competence.

Trips and events

Each year the department aims to provide a number of opportunities for pupils to visit local industry sites and further education institutions. Alongside educational visits, pupils will also have the opportunity to compete in a number of regional and national competitions at various points throughout the year. The department also offers a bi-annual trip to Bologna, Italy to visit a number of factories and museums related to design and engineering.

At the end of the academic year pupils showcase their work at the department’s annual Design Engineering exhibition to which everyone is warmly invited.

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