Our state-of-the-art Design and Technology workshop and design studio gives Withington pupils excellent opportunities to become creative thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers. The Department has several computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacture (CAM) machines that are representative of current industry standards including a laser cutter, a Roland CAMM 1 knife cutter and a VersaCamm Print and Cut Knife Cutting machine. All these CNC machines allow pupils to manufacture their products using many different materials such as vinyl, card, acrylic and wood. The machines are run by the versatile Techsoft V3 program on networked computers and are supported by A3 colour printers. Our computer-aided design equipment allows designs to be cut and engraved on different materials and transferred into several marketable products such as coasters, wall signage, textile products and mugs. Senior pupils therefore can create professional-quality resistant material and graphic products.
Key Stage 3
DT is taught in half-groups in rotation with Food and Nutrition for half a year in each of the Years 7, 8 and 9. They apply aesthetic, ecological, moral, social, and technical considerations to their own designs and to existing products. Sustainability is a focus that is applied to all project work. Students use a range of communication skills, including verbal, graphical and modelling skills, to design and make models and products in accordance with a specific design brief. Design Technology also teaches valuable practical skills and provides excellent opportunities to work collaboratively in a team. The projects undertaken in DT are varied in content providing opportunities to engage in activities that are challenging, relevant and motivating. Girls gain a huge amount of enjoyment, satisfaction, and confidence from the activities that they work on at Key Stage 3 & 4.
Year 7 pupils start their DT course by learning about the design process and computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacture (CAM). They then move on to more practical elements of designing and making and undertake short product design projects using materials including plastic, card, paper, textiles and vinyl. All projects make full use of CAD/CAM. Year 8 girls design and make prototypes using a variety of materials including plastics and wood. They can develop both their technical and material skills and strengthen their knowledge of CAD/CAM. The Year 9 course includes a Product Design Project in which the girls design and make innovative and exciting real-life products and prototypes for their own chosen target market. They can also create an advertising campaign as extension work.
Key Stage 4
DT is a GCSE option at KS4. We follow the AQA Design Technology GCSE specification, where pupils study all core materials and processes with a specialist focus on papers and board. The GCSE course combines design theory, core technical principles, specialist knowledge and practical design and making skills. At the end of their two-year course, students sit a written exam and submit an extensive design and make project in the form of a Non-Exam assessment (NEA), which is undertaken in Year 11. Design and Technology teaches important life skills: logical thinking, communication skills and problem-solving. The Department is eager to influence and inspire Withington girls not only in the curriculum but also in the responsibility of technology and design in life itself.
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