Why St Mary's

Explore this creative subject, inspired by subject-specialist teachers, who are passionate about design. Textiles encompasses a broad range of materials, techniques and processes, including recyclable materials and a growing number of interdisciplinary approaches. The range is increasing as new materials and technologies emerge, for example, in the field of ‘intelligent textiles’.

You will also research contemporary practice, with opportunities to explore practitioners working in occupations such as a textile designer, textile buyer, fashion designer, fashion forecaster, knitwear designer, milliner, costume designer, fashion illustrator, pattern-cutter and more.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Visiting speakers (recent examples include: Sophia Malig, Teaching Fellow in Fashion Design, Winchester School of Art, designers and crafts people)
  • Local and national museum visits, including the V&A Museum
  • Daily lunchtime clubs and workshops
  • After-school textiles club twice a week

View our Technology and Fashion Showcase

Course overview

This course will introduce students to a variety of experiences exploring a range of textile media, techniques and processes, including both traditional and new technologies e.g. computerised embroidery and digital printing. It will give students the opportunity to specialise in areas of particular interest and allows the creation of designs and products of woven, knitted, stitched, printed or decorative textiles that might have a functional or non-functional purpose.

Students will learn to explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to art and design from the past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples which is integral to the investigating and making process. Students will also explore drawing for different purposes as part of this course and they will use sketchbooks to record their work throughout the project.

What will I study?

Students are required to work in one or more area(s) of Textile Design, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:

  • art textiles
  • fashion design and illustration
  • costume design
  • constructed textiles
  • printed and dyed fabrics
  • surface pattern
  • stitched and/or embellished textiles

You will learn the way sources inspire the development of ideas, relevant to textile design including:

  • how sources relate to cultural, social, historical, contemporary, environmental and creative contexts which might be determined or influenced by functional or non-functional considerations
  • how ideas, feelings, forms, and purposes can generate responses that address personal needs or meet external requirements, such as client expectations and any associated constraints.

You will also learn the ways in which meanings, ideas and intentions relevant to textile design can be communicated include the use of:

  • figurative and non-figurative representations, stylisation, simplification, surface embellishment, constructional considerations and imaginative interpretation
  • visual and tactile elements, such as colour, line, form, tone etc.

What skills will I develop?

Studying Textile Design will enable you to develop a wide range of transferable skills for further education, work and life:

  • Creative and innovative thinking
  • Use of imagination and experimentation
  • Ability to critique and refine your own ideas
  • Knowledge and understanding of all design and technological activity and influences
  • Decision-making skills
  • Develop high quality, imaginative and functional prototypes
  • Communication skills



Component 1: Portfolio - 60% of GCSE

Students produce a portfolio that in total shows explicit coverage of the four assessment objectives. It must include a sustained project evidencing the journey from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work undertaken during the student’s course or study. Non-exam assessment (NEA) tasks are set and marked by a teacher and moderated by AQA at the end of Year 11. Total marks available are 96.

Component 2: Externally set assignment - 40% of GCSE

Students respond to their chosen starting point from an externally set assignment paper relating to their subject title, evidencing coverage of all four assessment objectives. A preparation period, which will begin from early January, is followed by 10 hours of supervised unaided work in which students are required to realise their intentions. Non-exam assessment (NEA) is set by AQA; marked by the teacher and moderated by AQA at the end of Year 11. Total marks available are 96.


Textiles scholarships

We offer scholarships for talented textile artists.

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You will enjoy this course if you ...
  • Have an interest in practical textiles
  • Enjoy being creative and taking the initiative
  • Have an eye for detail
  • Can think analytically
  • Like developing creative ideas

What our teachers say...

"I selected Textiles as my subject as it has a broad range and exciting techniques to work with. It also offers a breadth of possibilities to apply the skills in future employment, in areas such as marketing and branding."

Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel

Textile Design encourages creativity, sustained investigation and analysis, experimentation, and design and making as a means of developing technical and expressive skills.

Studying Textile Design as GCSE or A Level offers an opportunity to extend experience and personal response, as well as developing imagination and critical and reflective thinking. An ability to innovate, adapt and work independently are key skills, valued by higher education and employers, and vital to sustaining a creative, vibrant world.

Past St Mary's students have progressed to study a variety of fashion and textile courses including: Fashion and Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University and Winchester School of Art; Costume with Textiles at Huddersfield University and Textile Design at Norwich University of Arts.

This qualification leads to a range of different future career roles, including clothing/textile technologist, colour technologist, illustrator, interior designer, fashion designer or textile designer.


Our results

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Beyond St Mary's

Our Senior School students go on to pursue exciting futures.

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