The Design and Technology department at Chigwell offers a broad and exciting curriculum that aims to develop pupils’ knowledge and awareness of contemporary design and technology. Pupils study and engage in a range of design issues, ranging from aesthetics and ergonomics (what a product looks and feels like) through to the technological and functional aspects of product design (how it works). We aim to provide a stimulating and challenging learning environment that engages the interest of all pupils and fosters their development as confident and creative product designers. The methods of teaching are broad and varied and each Scheme of Work is designed to augment understanding of the role of design and technology in the world around us.
The emphasis at Key Stage Three is to introduce pupils to using resistant materials and engaging safely in workshop processes. Each project also aims to develop graphical communication skills and concludes with a common assessment task relating to the theoretical aspects, or specific skills within each project.
In years 7-9, pupils study a range of topics and apply their knowledge in a largely practical fashion. We focus learning towards the creation of products that pupils will want to make and use while also ensuring that pupils interact with all main materials groups and basic workshop processes. Areas of study may include the thermoforming of plastics, CAD/CAM (using the programme 2D Design and the laser cutter), metal work, wood fabrication, the use of jigs and formers to preserve accuracy, material finishing, electronics, and exploring 3D pen technology. Examples of products made include electronic amplifiers (compatible with mobile phones and mp3 devices), mobile phone stands, keyrings, stationary holders and travel games. Graphical communication techniques are also taught. All projects also incorporate room for personalization to increase pupils’ sense of ownership over their work. At this level we also perforate the extended projects with exciting ‘mini-tasks’, such as applying structural theory by making towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows! By the end of the Remove year, all pupils have experienced a broad and varied programme of study that provides a solid foundation for the GCSE course.
At GCSE level pupils follow the AQA Resistant Materials specification. Each pupil has the opportunity to respond to a given ‘theme’ and design and make a product that reflects the specified area. The course offers a balanced learning experience allowing pupils to explore the theoretical side of design and technology while also engaging in sophisticated practical activities. The LVth year comprises largely of theoretical work and small scale practical projects using a variety of materials and processes, and the UVth year is dedicated to the major coursework project (50% of the final GCSE grade). The course ends with the written exam (forming the remaining 50% of the qualification).
At A level students study the AQA Product Design specification. This offers an exciting and varied programme of study that builds upon the theory leant in the Vth form. In the LVIth students engage in a variety of practical, graphical and theoretical activity that extends understanding of the design industry and promotes confidence as individual designers. In the MVIth year students focus on their major design project; a design and make project for which students choose their own design brief.
The design and technology department offers many additional activities to enrich the curriculum and develop pupils’ experiences. The IVth form pupils have the opportunity to enter the annual I can Engineer competition run by the Institute of Civil Engineers, the LVth partake in workshops at the Design Museum, London and we also visit the V&A museum to provide an insight into the evolving and ever-changing world of design and materials technology. In the U5th pupils also have the opportunity to apply for the prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarship; an award that provides many opportunities within the field of Engineering including mentoring by an established company, engineering experience days and some financial support for A level studies. The sixth form curriculum is also enriched by visits to the annual Inspired by Design lecture at UCL and the New Designers exhibition at the Business Design Centre, London.
The design and technology workshop is always thriving with activity; we offer lunch time practical sessions for all exam groups to allow extra scope for coursework projects, and also run lunch activities for KS3 groups. Such activities may include 3D pen exploration, bird box making, electronics club, CAD club and silver jewellery making club.