The foundation course aims to provide each student with the opportunity to experience design activity, solving problems and manufacturing solutions appropriate to their levels of experience. Working with a range of tools, materials and technologies, students have the opportunity to explore this area of interest which may then be furthered in their own time or chosen for examination courses.
Typical projects followed during the first year might include transistor based electronic circuit design, storage problems, hand tool design, competitive projects using simple vehicles or structures, and so on.
At GCSE, students are prepared for either Design and Technology: Resistant Materials Technology or Product Design, both examined by the OCR board. This entails a core of study common to all D&T options, including design methodologies, materials and manufacturing technologies, structures and simple mechanisms.
Students are encouraged to meet coursework requirements through carefully chosen projects and will follow a problem through designing, manufacturing, testing and evaluation. Time, staff and facilities available have fostered a tradition at Ampleforth in which individual projects reach exceptionally high standards. Knowledge, understanding and skills are tested by terminal examination, design tasks and/or an innovation challenge.
Examples of these projects are highly varied and include aids for physically handicapped people, various domestic furniture, radio control projects, including submarines and aeroplanes, farming equipment and physical exercise apparatus.
A /AS Course
Design and Technology is a useful choice among students who are considering careers in engineering, architecture or manufacturing business. As at GCSE, candidates are assessed by a combination of individual project work and terminal examination papers. The EDEXCEL syllabus 'Design & Technology (Product Design)' is used and students are entered for the Resistant Materials specialism.
The demands of advanced level project management are of real benefit in the development of self-motivation and planning skills. Among examples of projects undertaken are an automated grain bin controller, an automated cattle feed dispenser, a sports car trailer and a triple motorcycle trailer. These works are frequently of a standard well above secondary educational levels and many have commercial viability.