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Sir Jonathan North College

Sir Jonathan North College

Electronics and Graphic Products


Electronics is a hands-on, practical subject that allows students to develop their understanding and use of components such as resistors and transistors. In Year 7 and 8 students study a project developing their electronics understanding and graphical design and in Year 9 they study graphic communication. In Key Stage 3 electronics and graphics are taught as a block in rotation with other subjects.

In Year 7 students begin to discover how electronics and circuits are manufactured and how components are connected together. Their project enables them to work practically, soldering and designing their own circuit.  Alongside this, they will learn 3D drawing (isometric style) to present their ideas.

In Year 8 students build on the electronics and graphics skills they have developed in Year 7 introducing flashing sequences, adding in switches to their circuits and soldering off “Circuit Board” components. Materials, tools and machinery used for shaping acrylic plastics are explored further and their products are finished “ready for sale”. Their graphic design skills are increased in range and ability with a view to the requirements of GCSE Graphics.

Graphic communication in Year 9 requires students to research, make and test creative solutions to a problem. They explore how to generate ideas quickly, to create a block print and finally to test and evaluate their work.  

Programme of Study

Year 7

  • To design and make an Up-Pop card mailer to help advertise an iPad game, fireworks or celebration event. A project that involves understanding basic graphics and layout. How sheet materials can be manipulated from a flat sheet using kinetic energy creating 3D shapes, powered by using elastic bands

Year 8

  • To design and make a prototype phone, design a menu screen icons and inventive packaging. This project is designed for students to think about the Graphic symbols used as part of their phone to communicate information. Students will also need to design inventive packaging and branding for the phone. This will need to be ready for sale.

Year 9

  • To design and make a CD that will be given away as a marketing tool for Glastonbudget. The focus of this project is for students to explore how block printing can be used to create simple images in reverse. Students are encouraged to explore how 3D products are made from flat sheet materials.
  • To design and make a card training shoe which will be used to promote a number of different outcomes. This project explores how even simple shoes contain a number of different sections and how important branding, colours and image identity are to a product.
  • To explore Film Standee advertising using sheet materials and modelling techniques. Students will explore, investigate and test different methods for joining and attaching sheets materials together to create a Film Standee that promotes a movie of their choice.


Graphics communication is defined as the process of creating primarily visual material to convey information, ideas and emotions through the use of graphic elements such as colour, icons, images, typography and photographs.

Over the two year course students are required to develop and apply relevant subject-specific skills in order to use visual language to communicate personal ideas, meanings and responses.   As they progress they will reflect critically on their creative journey and must demonstrate their ability to develop a well evidenced and coherent evaluation.

Areas of study during the course include the following, although work is not limited to one area of study.

  • Advertising
  • Communication graphics
  • Design for print
  • Illustration
  • Package design
  • Signage
  • Typography

During the course skills are developed and the production of a portfolio to evidence these skills is completed.

Students are required to know and understand how sources inspire the development of ideas; the ways in which meanings, ideas and intentions can be communicated; the different purposes, intentions and functions of art, craft and design in a variety of contexts and as appropriate to students’ own work.

Within their own portfolio, they will develop their ideas through investigations, informed by selecting and critically analysing sources, and refine their ideas as work progresses through experimenting with media, materials, techniques and processes.

In Year 11 students choose one of fifteen assignments given as a starting point. Students develop their responses during the 10 hours of focused study. This includes contextual and practical research to inform their ideas.  Following this, students are given 10 hours unaided and under supervision to complete their project.

Programme of Study

Year 10

The following units of learning contribute to their final grade and are submitted with their 10 hours of focused study.

  • I Love Text. Examining how text, colour and images are used in Graphic Design, through designers such as Paula Scher, Andy Smith, or Olly Moss.
  • Layout and Logos. Evaluation of layout, Branding and position of images and text through analysis of Movie Posters, Book Covers, Magazines and Video Games/CDs.
  • Packaging and Products Using Illustrator and Photoshop to explore how packaging can be constructed and modified to hold and promote products

Year 11

Students will choose an area from Year 10 and develop their own brief and solution using the skills they have developed during Year 10.

Potential projects can cover:-

  • Advertising
  • Communication Graphics
  • Design for Print
  • Illustration
  • Package Design
  • Signage
  • Typography

Useful Resources

  • Students would benefit from having access to drawing and painting equipment and a PC at home to support their skills development.
  • We encourage students to purchase good quality sketchbooks, pencil crayons and design markers.
  • Websites – there are countless internet sites available to support with student's independent research into practical techniques with a wide range of materials.
  • We encourage students to use GCSE bite size, Educas exam board website and graphic artists and real-life outdoors for inspiration. Students will be advised of other sites with information about key new technologies and developments with commercial design through taught lessons.

Top Tips

  • Encourage your daughter to practice the techniques she has learned at school to develop her accuracy, speed and confidence with them. If this becomes habitual and regular in Year 10, she will be happy and confident, and able to work independently with developing her final project work.
  • Spot tests will be set throughout the course to prepare students for the final exam in Year 11. If your daughter is to perfect her exam technique with responding to different exam type design problems confidently, it is sensible for her to prepare for these tests thoroughly throughout the 2 year course. Preparation for the final exam should therefore be about effective organization and planning, and not about “doing it on the day” when students have many exams to prepare for at this time.