Design and Technology is an inspiring and challenging subject. It gives young people the skills and abilities to engage positively with the designed and made world and to harness the benefits of technology. We provide a lively dynamic environment in which students have the confidence to create innovative ideas and the capability to bring their ideas to life.
Technology is comprised of three subject areas:
- Product Design
- Textile Technology
- Food Preparation and Nutrition
All pupils study Design and Technology in the Lower School. In the First Year, pupils have the opportunities to study Food Preparation and Nutrition, Product Design and Textiles. This is on a rotation carousel where they will spend approximately 13 weeks in each area. During the Second Year, pupils also rotate amongst the three areas of Technology however, at the end of the Second Year, students will opt whether to choose one of the Technologies as part of their options going into Third Year.
Students also opt again at the end of the Third Year where Food and Nutrition, Product Design and Textiles can be chosen for GCSE level. Students cannot opt to take Textiles and Product Design as pupils do the same exam paper for GCSE. Further up the school, Product Design and Textiles can be opted for as an A-level option, which have both proven to be very popular.
We aim to:
- Combine practical skills with knowledge and understanding in order to design and manufacture quality products in a variety of scales of production;
- Analyse and evaluate industrially manufactured products and production processes to develop an understanding of commercial practice;
- Develop and demonstrate a wide range of graphical presentation, and practical techniques, develop strategies for developing ideas, planning and producing products;
- Consider how past and present design and technology, relevant to a designing and making context, affects society;
- Recognise the moral, cultural and environmental issues inherent in design and technology;
- Develop creative, technical, problem solving and practical skills;
- Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
Staff and facilities
There are twelve members of staff in the Technology department, including the Technician Support. The department is located in the Sports and Technology Centre which was opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in November 2001. The building provides fabulous accommodation for Product Design, Food Preparation and Nutrition and Textiles Technology.
Pupils are introduced to a wide range of materials and processes during the First Year. They start the course by learning about Health and Safety within the workshop and the basic classification of materials. For their first DT project they will they construct a hanging mobile from softwood and MDF. This teaches them to use basic hand tools and a range of machine tools such as pillar drills, fret saws, coping saws, bobbin sanders and vertical belt sanders.
Pupils cover a range of jewellery techniques: casting, enamelling and etching. They then complete a design project to produce a gift for a local museum. They will work with a variety of metals such as brass, copper and aluminium.
Pupils are introduced to a wide range of manufacturing techniques such as casting and brazing. They gain experience in computer aided design (CAD) and are taught how to use it to produce components on a computer-controlled laser cutter and a CNC lathe. They design and make a picture frame holder, a clock based on the Memphis design movement and a desk tidy using a range of material classifications such as timbers, plastics and metals.
Further up the school
At GCSE pupils currently study Eduqas Design and Technology. A GCSE in Design and Technology offers a unique opportunity in the curriculum for learners to identify and solve real problems by designing and making products or systems. Through studying GCSE Design and Technology, learners will be prepared to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world and be aware of, and learn from, wider influences on design and technology, including historical, social/cultural, environmental and economic factors.
The course involves pupils designing and manufacturing products using a range of materials including wood, metals, plastics and composites. They will study industrial processes to give them an understanding of how everyday products are produced commercially. The use of ICT will form a key element of the course with CAD and CAM (computer aided manufacturing) being used in the development and realisation of their ideas.
The students will have an exam which accounts for 50% of their final GCSE grade. They will also complete NEA coursework which also accounts for 50 % of their grade. This will involve creating a sketchbook with research, designs and manufacturing details along with a final practical piece manufactured in the school’s workshop.
The department offers Eduqas Product Design. This course offers a considerable breadth of experience for pupils who have studied Product Design at GCSE.
It equips students with design skills for the future, recognising design needs and develops an understanding of how current global issues, including integrating technology, impacts on today’s world. The course also encourages creativity and innovation.
The Product Design course encompasses a wide range of design disciplines, but is firmly rooted on the skills required to design and make high quality products. Students will design and manufacture products that are fit for purpose, satisfy wants and needs, enhance our day-to-day lives.
Opting for the Product Design option at A-level can lead to careers such as Architecture, Product Design, Engineering, Furniture, Prosthetics and Automotive Design.
The students will spend two years manufacturing a high quality, final product. They will also produce a portfolio alongside this detailing their ideas, concepts and relevant research.
They will sit an exam at the end of Upper Sixth.
The First Year course involves the pupils in a design and make project that will focus on surface pattern design alongside building confidence and skills when using a sewing machine. Theoretical aspects of the course will cover the material technology of fabrics and the production processes commonly found in industry.
Pupils studying Textiles Technology in Second Year will continue to develop their skills from First Year by building their confidence creating stitch and pattern on both the sewing machines and by hand. They will be introduced to new skills such as CAD/CAM, heat transfer and button application. They will take part in a design and make project in which they will construct a buttoned pencil case. They will also learn about environmental issues that are linked to the Textiles industry.
Textiles is offered as an option and, if enough pupils opt to study the subject, it may be possible to run a dedicated Textiles group. Pupils will be involved in a range of project work using surface decoration and pattern drafting techniques to produce a variety of different products. They will gain a further commercial insight by relating their work to the mass production of textile products in industry, including the use of computer aided design and manufacturing. Pupils also study the environmental impact of the textiles industry and investigate ethical issues such as Fair Trade.
Further up the school
GCSE Textiles students follow the same specification as the Design and Technology students. They will opt to answer the Textiles section of the examination paper.
On the course you will:
- get to demonstrate creativity through designing and making a range of textile products;
- develop your pattern drafting and garment construction skills;
- study commercial practice and keep up to date with technological advances in fabric manufacture and current issues in the textiles and fashion industry.
The course involves pupils designing and manufacturing products using a range of natural and synthetic fabrics. They will study industrial processes to give them an understanding of how garments are produced commercially.
The students will have an exam which accounts for 50% of their final GCSE grade. They will also complete NEA coursework which also accounts for 50 % of their grade. This will involve creating a sketchbook with research, designs and manufacturing details along with a final garment manufactured in the school’s Textiles department.
A-level Textiles is offered as an endorsement through the A-level Art and Design course. Students are introduced to a variety of experiences that employ a range of textiles media and techniques. Work is developed through research, the development of ideas, and making, working from first-hand experience and, where appropriate, secondary source material. A-level sets in Textiles usually consist of between four and eight students and teaching is divided between two members of staff. We follow the AQA syllabus that offers the opportunity for thorough exploration and investigation of the subject. Techniques and principles established at GCSE are expanded further and a wider range of media is introduced. Students can take their work in a fashion direction or, if they prefer, they can focus on textiles art. The emphasis is placed on a personal response and the influence of artists, designers and other secondary sources are expected to feature increasingly in the development of work. While very rewarding, a strong commitment to the subject is important in order to gain fully from the course.
Students are required to complete two components over the two years of the course.
The first (Component 1) takes the form of a practical investigation into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by written material. The focus of the investigation must lead to a series of related finished outcomes and must demonstrate an ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning from an initial starting point through to a final realisation.
The second (Component 2) takes the form of an Externally Set Assignment and is completed in the second half of the Upper Sixth Year. It includes 15 hours of allocated time that follows a preparatory period, in which pupils produce a final piece or pieces. Both components are marked using the same criteria with Component 1 accounting for 60% of the overall mark and Component 2 the remaining 40%.
Visits to galleries are made periodically and students are encouraged to make use of both local and national gallery collections. In addition, a residential trip, either in the UK or abroad, may be offered during Lower Sixth. There is great benefit to be had in seeing students’ work in a formal gallery environment and a number of opportunities exist for this to take place throughout the year. It is by no means the case that only students wishing to follow a course in Textiles or Fashion at university should consider studying the subject at A-level. Its balance of practical, academic and analytical skills is widely transferable and pupils intending to study courses unrelated to Textiles or Fashion find that it successfully complements their other subject choices. That said, many of our Advanced level students choose to go onto specialist Fashion or Design courses. The department enjoys a strong reputation for producing candidates that have a thorough understanding of the design process coupled with a high level of technical skill.