“The furniture you are turning out is quite simply the best I have seen produced in schools. Even given the obvious advantageous situation in which you and your students work, the pieces they create are a real credit to you and the school and illustrate the best in D&T”
Andy Mitchell Assistant Chief Executive, Design & Technology Association
Geography and DT trip to London, September 2013
Cross-Curricular Visit to London’s East End
First stop was the Museum of London Docklands located a short walk from the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in a 200 year-old warehouse. Girls had the chance to follow the industrial decline of the docks during the ‘swinging sixties’ and their regeneration in the 1980s, through the eyes of the London Docklands Development Corporation (a key GCSE Geography case study), the local workforce and Docklands communities.
Next came an exhilarating ride on a Thames Clipper. These high speed catamarans carry around 8500 commuters and tourists a day and are designed to ease congestion on London’s busy roads. No sooner had we left Canary Wharf than we were docking at North Greenwich Pier, where we spent some time examining the redevelopment of the area around the O2 arena.
To reach our next destination we took a flight on the Emirates Air-line, a 1km gondola line that crosses the Thames. Soaring at 90-metres high we had spectacular views of the Thames Barrier and Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit’, built as a lasting legacy of the 2012 Olympics.
Solutions for Sustainable Cities
For our final destination of the day we visited the Siemens Crystal. This exhibition is dedicated to urban sustainability. Following a powerful and thought-provoking video outlining the current situation and the possible threats, the girls made their way around the ten interactive zones that look at the challenges and opportunities for cities now and for the future.
The day proved extremely successful; the girls returned to OHS with sketchbooks filled with ideas and a better understanding of the pioneering solutions and innovative technologies that are driving future trends for a more sustainable world.
Design and Technology Summer Exhibition 2013
The Design & Technology Department recently had a busy and very successful exhibition, showcasing the excellent GCSE and A level work produced in 2012-2013. The evening was very well attended and most visitors and parents were amazed at the very fine quality of the work presented. There was a wide range of products on show from a small cabinet to a large painted chest of drawers. There was certainly a lot of interest in the solid walnut occasional table with curved ash inlays sweeping over the dark wood surface. It was definitely a striking piece of furniture. One of the tallest was the upholstered walnut chair, designed and manufactured by Vivie Gorham for her AS Product Design course. It had an air of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ about it, due to its over-size proportions. There were many fantastic pieces on show and credit must be paid to the hard work, professionalism and creativity of all of the girls who produced work in Design & Technology this year.
GDST Design & Technology Conference 2013
Oxford High School hosted the inaugural Heads of Design and Technology conference within the Girls Day School Trust (GDST). It was an interesting and intriguing day, filled with a range of activities and presentations. Inviting and instigating discussion in the afternoon was Andy Mitchell, Assistant Chief Executive of DATA, who gave an enlightening presentation on the new and old POS and the direction that Design and Technology should be taking. There were many discussions that took place, providing opportunities for viewing work, networking, self-reflection and debate. The day gave everyone a chance to consider what they deliver and which projects and skills should be taught in a 21st century curriculum. Each school displayed a variety of work and provided fine examples of projects attempted using different materials, techniques and processes.
It was good to see how easy it was to form products using the Metalcraft (J&CR Wood) forming equipment. Alongside this was the CubeX, a 3D printer from Technology Supplies Ltd. Both seem to have a place in the modern curriculum and it was an excellent opportunity to see the equipment working. Everyone went away with new contacts, ideas and inspiration.
Roll on the next DT Conference in 2014!
Design Technology – GCSE and A level Exhibition
On Thursday 5 July, the Design Technology department held an exhibition of current GCSE and A-Level work. The work on display showcased the final projects from the GCSE and A-Level courses examined in 2012. The exhibition was extremely successful and the evening was very busy, with a broad mix of proud parents, excited girls and amazed visitors. Most of our guests were astounded at the complexity and level of professionalism demonstrated by the technically challenging pieces on display. Some expressed disbelief that the pieces had been designed and manufactured primarily by 15- and 16-year-olds. Many of the comments received throughout the evening referred to the fact that the work wouldn’t be out of place in a bespoke furniture showroom.
Displayed at the centre of the exhibition was a solid walnut and ash double bed. This was designed and constructed by Sophia Keen for her AS-Level work and is striking with its tall columnar inlayed headboard. It is a fine example of the excellent, creative work our students regularly produce.
DT Photo Gallery Update
Mr. C Phillips Head of Design Technology
Mr. Phillips graduated from Gwent College with a BA Hons in Three Dimensional Design. During his time there he specialised in the use of wood and metal as a construction medium. Degree projects included Airport Seating in steel and foam, Path and Building Illumination in anodised aluminium and an Extending Dining Table and Chairs in quarter sawn oak. Following a period in industry he moved into the teaching sector having studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Design Technology. He has undertaken private commissions ranging from a Flat Pack Extendable Kitchen Table, a Garden Heater and Jewellery boxes to a Freestanding Counter and till area for a Gift Shop. He also has a range of qualifications supporting the work carried out in Design Technology and ran a successful design partnership for many years. He is also a member of The Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Mr. Phillips has been a Head of Design Technology in a number of schools in and around Oxfordshire and further afield. The most recent of these was a 1500 pupil school in Milton Keynes where he managed a team of 14 staff in the Design Technology and Art Faculty.
Mr M Hudson, Technician
Mr Hudson has a wide range of qualifications, skills and experience to complement the entire faculty. He has completed a BTec foundation course in Art and Design at the Mid Glamorgan Centre for Art and Design, an HND in Design Crafts and Ceramics at Carmarthenshire College of Technology & Art. Following this he completed a BA Hons in Art (Ceramics) & Business Studies at Canterbury Christ Church College. His work has been exhibited in the Air Gallery (London) & at Canterbury Christ Church College. He has undertaken private commissions and is a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and has worked in the ceramics industry.
Facilities and Resources
The building consists of a workshop, design area, research/IT area and two store rooms. This allows the girls to investigate and work in a variety of materials and to experience mechanisms, structures, electronics, pneumatics, graphics and computer control in a safe and appropriate environment.
The GCSE course is called Design and Technology and at present the pupils are studying Resistant Materials.
Every pupil in the school will study the subject. The department has a core course for the first three years (Y7-9, KS3) in which pupils are taught in groups of 15-18. At present it consists of ½ termly blocks, two double periods per week, usually equivalent to 10-12 hours. In the fourth and fifth years (Y10/11, KS4) there is a choice; girls can either take a GCSE course (OCR – Design & Technology – Resistant Materials Technology) or they follow a non-examined course which now consists of one double period per week.
In Year 7 students design and make an Illuminated Mobile phone or IPOD stand. Students are involved in cutting and assembling a wood base unit, some basic electronics using a switch and super bright Light Emitting Diode and cutting and shaping Acrylic. The Acrylic stand is sanded, polished and then shaped by hand using a strip heater. The base and electronics are made by the students using a variety of tools and processes. The final piece is assembled and finished with wax. The project also consists of a 25 page design booklet introducing students to the design process, materials and equipment.
In Year 8 students continue to develop their designing and making skills in manufacturing a set of Wind Chimes. Metal working is introduced in the form of the production of the chimes. Students are involved in cutting, filing and drilling the metal and wood. The wood surface can also be decorated if a they choose too, using a hot pyrography pen and coloured stains. The project also consists of a 27 page design booklet introducing students to new materials, equipment and processes. In Year 8 more emphasis is placed on the individual design that is produced by the student.
Year 9 sees the introduction of Computer Aided Design. Students use 2D Design software to design and make a Jewellery box out of pewter or resin and miranti/oak. The box is manufactured with finger joints and a pewter or resin emblem is inlayed into the lid, having been cut on the CNC machine. The project is very demanding with the emphasis being on workshop skills and the tools and equipment used. The boxes are finished to a high standard and are sealed with Danish Oil.
Year 10 begin with a Flat Pack Project developing wood manufacturing techniques and introducing the GCSE folio aspects. Other projects are introduced throughout the year focusing on a range of materials and processes. CAD is heavily used in preparation for Year 11.
Year 11 students are involved in a project of their own choice and spend 3 terms designing a making the product. This involves the development of a large folder of design work and culminates in a practical piece being manufactured by the student.
Current and past projects include a Garden Table, Wine Rack, Bedside Table, Lighting, Vanity Table, Bathroom Cabinet, Dressing Table, Display Cabinet and many other household products and occasional furniture. There is some truly outstanding work being produced by the girls. All of which is finished to a very high standard.
AS and A2 Product Design
Students are studying EdExcel Product Design. They are involved in a wide range of projects, all solving a real need researched and generated in their own time. The year long course culminates in a 20 page design folder and the realisation of a final piece. This course is proving hugely popular and students are producing some of the best work I have seen in schools. There is much to be proud of.
The A Level course involves Product Analysis, Materials Theory and Practice, Design Issues and two practical projects. Students are encouraged to work with a client and solve a real need. Past projects have included a sculpture for Oxford Universities Tropical Medicines and Infectious Disease Department, a bench for The Nuffield Orthopaedic department and benches and a lectern for Oxford High School, a drinks and food cabinet for a prestigious Oxford hotel and a reception table for the CPS offices in London. Current projects include play equipment for a special needs primary school, a sculpture/bench for a tool hire company and public seating for Oxford University Botanic Garden.
This course is pretty unique. Students who do not study GCSE do a 14 week course in the subject in Years 10 and 11. The course is entirely practically based and involves making an animal sculpture out of scrap steel and wood. It is great fun and is enjoyed by all. The outcomes are often entered in Art/Textiles GCSE courses.
Extra-Curricular Activities and Achievements
Links have been formed over the years with the Oxford Trust, which encourages and develops connections between schools and industry. They also offer financial support for relevant project work. Links have been made in the past with the Nuffield Hospital, Radley College and OXRAD. It is our intention to re-form these links as and when appropriate. A number of local suppliers have been involved in donating materials for projects and assisting with the manufacture of projects when the department facilities are not suitable.