Design & Technology

Our D&T curriculum aims to help students to have a growing awareness of the world around them and be capable of informing that awareness independently. We want students to be inspired by the thought that they can conceive ideas that improve peoples’ lives. Through learning and practice, we want students to be able to design and produce creative, considerate and beneficial solutions. As they work we aim to develop their enjoyment and pride in the process and product of designing and making activity, whilst at school and beyond. As we look at the variety of work and industries, we will signpost careers specific to D&T and the skills that are transferable to many others.

Key Stage 3

Students are given a chance to roll their sleeves up and get stuck into all 3 of our specialist material areas – Food – Textiles and Product Design. Our subject carousel allows all students to gain experience using the tools and equipment associated with the different working environments of the kitchens, textiles studio and workshops.

With an obvious slant on Health and Safety and practical skills in Year 7, the subject soon broadens and deepens to include the skills necessary to solve problems in practical ways – researching – designing – making – evaluating – and whilst they are busy solving problems and completing tasks there is a constant ‘drip-feed’ of subject knowledge – materials and their properties – production techniques – environmental and social impact – the work of others – the use of maths, science and ICT within designing and making.

As KS3 comes to an end, the skills and knowledge necessary for the GCSE D&T courses come to the fore – analysing contexts – iterative design techniques – objective evaluation. KS3 projects include designing and making soft toy monsters, habitats for insects in urban locations and recipes that are ‘Fast and Fresh!’.

Key Stage 4

Students in Years 10 and 11 can specialise in one of our 3 material routes with the relevant GCSE course: Food Preparation and Nutrition, Design and Technology (Product Design and Design and Technology), Textiles. All three courses are studied in life with the AQA specifications.

All 3 courses extend the KS3 D&T experience and develop the student’s ability to independently find and solve problems using an ever wider range of equipment and techniques within the specialist areas, with the chance to practice and hone these skills to a higher level of accuracy and precision. In Year 11 students are required to respond to a context set by the exam board and the subsequent projects produced should demonstrate the student’s own independent research and direction of interest within that context. Titles have included – ‘Providing a safe and comfortable home’, ‘Working towards a sustainable future’, ‘A range of dishes that meet the dietary needs of an individual with Type 2 diabetes’ and ‘Investigate the functional properties of chemical raising agents in baked dishes eg biscuits, cakes and scones’.

In Design and Technology, a greater focus on designing skills is evident at KS4, in line with the GCSE expectations. Students develop and practice the use of different design methodology, drawing on an ever-growing understanding of the influences on design to help make informed decisions.

In KS4 Food there is a greater emphasis on nutrition, healthy living, food science and food provenance, covering topics that have broader and more far-reaching effects on society and the environment.

Key Stage 5

As you might expect the courses at this level look to prepare students for further studies or entry into design and manufacturing related industries. It builds on the KS4 skills and knowledge and introduces topics that cover how designers and manufacturers operate within their industries. Topics include commercial design and production techniques, the use of ICT in a product’s development, life cycle analysis and the work of famous designers.

Students are taught and are expected to draw on the widest possible range of tools and equipment that are available to them, demonstrating their ability to respond with creativity, complexity and precision, to a very demanding level.

Learning beyond the classroom

Rotary Technology Tournament – we take part in this every year and are so proud of the commitment and hard work of our KS3 students on this.

Dacorum Young Chef competition – our fantastic students have won this three times in the last five years!

We also run various lunchtime and after school clubs with textiles, food technology, and product design activities.

Challenge Curriculum

At Ashlyns, we believe that the development of students’ love of learning is of central importance in our curriculum. In order to give students every opportunity to develop this, we have developed a Challenge Curriculum which provides the opportunity for students to enhance their learning across the subjects. The activities contained within the Challenge Curriculum are for students to undertake independently, and take lots of forms, including watching films or clips, visiting museums, conducting independent research, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures online. They are by no means exhaustive, and we encourage all activities that enable students to engage with subjects beyond the classroom and further their learning. Students should let their teachers know which activities they have completed, and are able to earn merits for doing so.

View the Technology Challenge Curriculum