Design and Technology is taught to all students in Year 7, 8 and 9 in the Sunley Centre at Ampleforth College. This foundation course aims to provide each student with the opportunity to experience designing and making through a series of projects. We cover four key areas:
Technical knowledge: including topics such as materials, ergonomics, aesthetics, electronics and structures.
Design skills: orthographic drawing, perspective sketching, lateral thinking, computer aided design.
Making skills: soldering, casting, hand tools for woods, metals and plastics, use of 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC router.
Stewardship: sustainability, social, moral and ethical issues relating to technology.
At GCSE, students follow the OCR Design and Technology course which includes design methodologies, materials and manufacturing technologies, structures and mechanisms.
In Year 10 students work through projects in wood, metal, plastics and electronics to embed skills with machines and knowledge relating to the materials. The knowledge, understanding and skills are tested by a terminal examination worth 50% of the GCSE.
Before Year 11 students are provided with a theme from which they select their own problem to solve. Students are then guided through the research, designing, development, manufacture and evaluation over the next two terms. They record the iterative design and make process in a portfolio. The Sunley Centre is available throughout the week, in evenings and on weekends at key times so many of these individual projects reach exceptionally high standards. Examples of these projects include lighting, seating, aids for physically handicapped people, wildlife shelters and traps. This project is worth 50% of the GCSE.
A level Course
Students follow the AQA Design and Technology: Product Design course which is assessed through individual project work and terminal examinations. It is helpful but not necessary for candidates to have studied GCSE Design and Technology.
The specification covers technical principles such as material types and properties which are assessed in a terminal exam worth 30% of the course. A second exam worth 20% covers design factors such as ergonomics, inclusive design, safety, sustainability, health and safety, systems, quality control and copyright and manufacturing processes. Preparation for this includes numerous investigations of products but also through projects researching, designing and making products. These smaller projects in Year 12 also prepare students for their major project.
The major project (or Non-exam Assessment) is worth 50% of the A level and students choose a live client and a real problem to tackle. They develop designs and manufacture a solution, working with the client throughout. Often students will seek external expert’s advice from outside the school to ensure that their product is commercially viable. The project management experience is of real benefit for students about to embark on any undergraduate course, design related or not.
Examples of recent projects include a functionalist watch, a Raspberry Pi Space Balloon Kit for schools, a Mouseman inspired chair, contemporary nature trail benches and bedroom furniture for a Down’s Syndrome teenager.