The Design and Technology (D&T) department is based in the ground floor of the purpose-built David Holmes Building. It is a spacious and well-equipped multi-media workshop and teaching area, providing a full range of facilities for the delivery of all aspects of the Resistant Materials elements of the National Curriculum for D&T.
The department philosophy follows that espoused by Jacob Bronowski, ‘ The hand is the cutting edge of the mind’. It fits neatly into the original ‘3 Rs’ model of education – ‘ Reading, WRoughting and ARithmetic’.
Design and Technology lessons focus on pupils solving real world problems by designing and making, using woods, metals, polymers (or ‘plastics’) and electronic components.
The majority of the work carried out in lesson is practical in nature allowing pupils to gain an understanding of the properties of materials and tools and hence design intelligently. Although pupils (and some parents) quite rightly focus on the quality of their finished outcome, it is the learning which takes place en-route which is most important.
As well as a wide range of hand tools, pupils have access to and use machine tools, power tools and computer-controlled machinery to realise their ideas.
The tasks taken are differentiated (often self-differentiated by pupils) to best suit their strengths and interests. Pupils have the opportunity to investigate technological concepts in more detail during extended homework tasks which also help them to develop the learning skills and habits they will require at Key Stage 4.
Design work is often collaborative in nature and pupils are encouraged constantly to apply the principles of Kaizen as they analyse their work and their progress and look to make continuous improvement. The department makes use of the Design Process work cycle as per the National Curriculum. Pupils have the opportunity to present their work in a variety of ways to suit their own preferred learning style.
Pupils in Upper Juniors (Year 6) will have a D&T week where they have an early opportunity to make use of the senior workshop.
Forms 1 to 3 (Years 7 to 9) are each taught in one double period per week and follow a course based on Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum. The current projects include “Spinning top and launcher”, “Mini metal monster”, “Electronic steady hand game”, “Automata”, “Pull along toy”, “Art Deco Clock” , “Hand Tool” and “Bathroom accessory or Desk tidy”
For Key Stage 4, the department offers the AQA Resistant Materials GCSE, starting in Form 4 (Year 10). Pupils choosing this course have the opportunity to design and build progressively more challenging and imaginative projects.
From September 2017 in common with all schools in the UK Ditcham will offer the single unified Design and Technology GCSE. It is interesting to note that nationally schools are following Ditcham’s lead in teaching DT as a single subject rather than splitting it between the material areas.
In 2016 28% of pupils achieved a grade A* or A as compared to a national average of 18%. Similarly 58% of pupils achieved a grade B or higher as compared to the national average of 37%.