“All problems are solved by good design.” Stephen Gardiner
At Ruislip High School, we believe that design and technology is vital to ensure that students develop both social and environmental awareness, become more adept at problem-solving, and understand the importance of the relationship between function and aesthetics. Through the study of design technology, students at Ruislip High School develop their creativity and imagination, and build their confidence in considering how to design and make products that solve real, relevant problems whilst keeping the vital importance of sustainability in mind.
We are ambitious for our students and have created a bespoke curriculum which is relevant for the twenty-first century whilst ensuring students develop the creative and practical skills that will enable students to engage in the process of designing and making in a range of contexts.
At Key Stage 3, Design Technology is taught through the study of robotics; coding; Food and Nutrition; Textiles; Graphics and Media Studies. Students are also given the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the curriculum through Above & Beyond clubs including DIY and cooking clubs.
At Key Stages 4 and 5, Design Technology is taught through options available in Textiles, Media Studies and, from September 2024, Food Preparation and Nutrition. The school also benefits from a close relationship with BUILD, an independent training centre. Students in KS4 who are interested in construction study for qualifications in areas including plumbing and plastering. BUILD also works with the school to allow students in Years 9 and 10 to take part in roadshows which give students the opportunity to trial lessons offered at BUILD, and develop their skills of making and their technical knowledge. The school also works closely with Uxbridge College, which offers Ruislip High School students the opportunity to study courses in construction and cookery & hospitality.
Key Stage 3
Food and Nutrition: Students develop the knowledge to improve and maintain their general wellbeing. Alongside learning the government guidance to nutrition, students develop practical skills that will serve them in preparing meals both in and outside of school. Over the course of KS3, students embed a deeper understanding of nutrition and learn how our lives are impacted by food and exercise. Students gain an invaluable sense of independence as they start to tailor their recipes to their tastes, whilst also being able to work safely and independently.
Robotics: All students in Years 7-9 take part in robotics through bespoke sessions which run as part of pre-planned DT curriculum days. The students learn the basics of building a vehicular robot as well as coding it accurately. Initially students build a robot from instruction and then later modify the design to improve stability and grip. Students further develop their skills by using programmable inputs such as touch sensors and colour sensors enabling their robot to react to a particular stimulus. Students learn about distance sensors and incorporate these into their designs so that the vehicle can be programmed to avoid obstacles. In Year 9, students design their own rescue robot and undertake a number of bespoke challenges.
Coding: As part of Computer Science lessons, all students in Years 7-9 develop the expertise to use the Google suite effectively. Students also learn coding skills, starting by developing their logical reasoning and computational thinking skills by using block programming for Microbit and text-based programming using Python turtle in Year 7 before developing their programming skills in Year 8 and writing programs using sequence, selection and iteration in Python. Students also apply their skills by creating games on Gamemaker. In Year 9 students recap and retrieve their algorithmic thinking skills by learning advanced Flowol and application of the flowcharts in real world scenarios.They also develop their programming skills further by learning and applying advanced Python skills like functions and procedures.This helps them develop their problem-solving skills further at this stage and they are expected to debug their code when errors arise.
Textiles: Students study Textiles in Years 7, 8 and 9, allowing students to develop the skills required to construct multiple different textile pieces. Students look at how to include functionality and also develop the decorative element of the subject. Throughout the key stage, students will develop and refine their skills to allow them to create personal outcomes to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.
Graphics: Students study Graphics in Years 7, 8 and 9, providing students with the opportunity to develop not only their design skills and compositional analysis but also to bring awareness about the advertising world around them. Students develop their skills to create drawn and digital outcomes that focus on taking into consideration interpretation and the impact aesthetic can have on the success of their work.
Media Studies: Students study Media Studies in Year 9, providing students with the tools required to understand the basics of media language and representation analysis through the study of the action/adventure film genre. This is then brought to life as a film poster, which encourages students to develop their photography skills and ability to use software such as Adobe Photoshop and Affinity Photo.
Key Stage 4
Textiles: Textiles at GCSE allows students to challenge preconceived ideas and develop their own opinions and interpretations, broadening their own cultural capital and allowing them to create personal and meaningful responses. Students will be guided to make appropriate choices to create refined and developed work.
Students undertake two portfolio projects in Year 10 and Year 11. There is one externally set task in January of Year 11 culminating in a 10 hour practical exam. Both portfolio projects are graded holistically and this grade is worth 60% of the GCSE grade. The set task sketchbook and practical exam are marked holistically and are worth 40% of the GCSE grade.
Students are marked on four Assessment Objectives (AO). Each AO is marked out of 24.
The four AOs are as follows:
AO1 Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.
AO2 Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.
AO3 Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.
AO4 Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.
Media Studies: When undertaking the two-year course, students will develop a clear understanding of the media’s integral role in shaping our society. The course provides students with the opportunity to explore a wide range of texts, from music videos and magazines to news programmes, video games and advertising. For the examination units on the course, students will learn to apply skills of analysis, critical thinking and evaluation in their written work. Students will also learn how to integrate key media theory into their analysis, which enhances their academic writing ability.
Component 1 - Exploring the Media: For Component One, the examination focuses on all areas of the media theoretical framework. Section A (media language and representation) focuses on a range of print media forms: magazines, marketing (film posters), newspapers, or print advertisements. Section B (industries and audiences) focuses on the following media forms: film, newspapers, radio, video games.
Component 2 - Understanding Media Forms and Products: For Component Two, students will analyse all areas and contexts of the media in relation to television (situation comedy) and music (music videos and online media). This examination is designed to allow students to show their full understanding of key media issues, whilst analysing historical and contemporary media texts.
Component 3 - Creating Media Products: The non-examined assessment unit allows students the opportunity to develop their creativity and hone their practical skills. This exciting coursework unit presents students with the challenge of responding to a set brief and ensuring they produce production work, which utilises genre conventions successfully. Examples of previous briefs are creating a film marketing campaign for a spy thriller and producing a three minute extract from a radio soap opera.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment will consist of a mixture of examinations and non-examined assessment.
Component 1: Written examination - 1 hour 30 mins, 40% of qualification
Component 2: Written examination - 1 hour 30 mins, 30% of qualification
Component 3: Non-exam assessment- Media Production, 30% of qualification
Food Preparation and Nutrition: This course is planned to start in September 2024 to offer students with an interest in food and cookery the opportunity to learn the skills, knowledge and understanding of using different cooking techniques and methods required for further study, apprenticeships or a career in the sector.
Students will study the AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE and will plan, cook and present a range of challenging, multifaceted dishes demonstrating more advanced technical skills to increase their awareness of British and international cuisines. A thorough understanding of nutrition is developed with students able to classify macro and micronutrients as well as demonstrate an in-depth understanding of why specific nutrients are required, how much is required and where they can be obtained from. An in-depth understanding of the chemical properties and uses/functions of a wide range of ingredients is developed. Detailed knowledge of cooking methods and corresponding methods of heat transfer is taught. An ability to apply current healthy eating guidelines and an understanding of specific energy needs to dish and diet choice is also practised. Students also learn about the prominent current issues related to food production; for example food miles, sustainability, genetic engineering, causes of poor health related to diet. An ability to perform effective nutritional and sensory analysis is also developed. The health and safety and food hygiene awareness learned in KS3 is also developed with students learning about cross contamination, food borne illnesses, food poisoning and the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the safe and hygienic production of food (eg. environmental health officers).
Key Stage 5
Textiles: The course allows students to be bold and brave by trying new techniques and being encouraged to push themselves out of their comfort zones to achieve even further and create their own creative voice.
The course consists of two elements:
The personal investigation is worth 60% of the total A Level. This is a portfolio of practical work showing a personal response to either a starting point, brief, scenario or stimulus, devised and provided by the student, with a supporting essay that is 1000-3000 words.
The externally set task is worth 40% of the total A Level. This is a portfolio of practical work showing a personal response to a given starting point culminating in a 15 hour exam.
The personal investigation comprises two discrete but linked elements. Element 1 is the practical portfolio. The portfolio will consist of a sustained project or theme and can be presented in appropriate formats. There is no restriction on the scale of work produced but students must carefully select, organise and present their work to show that they have met all four assessment objectives. Element 2 is the related context in which their chosen practical portfolio exists. This could be by exploring a theme, subject matter, movement or historical framework of the overarching starting point, course of study or theme selected. The aim of the related study is to enable students to develop their ability to communicate their knowledge and understanding of art historical movements, genres, practitioners and artworks, considering the way that these change and evolve within chronological and other frameworks.
The externally set task will be shared with the students from February 1st in Year 13. Students will have up to eight school weeks for their preparatory studies prior to their fifteen hour supervised time period. The paper will give students a choice of seven themes. Students will select one theme for which they will generate an appropriate personal response. In the preparatory period students will research, plan and develop ideas for their response to the option they have chosen.
Media Studies: The A Level Media Studies course is a clear progression from the skills gained during GCSE studies. However, for students who choose Media Studies as an option for the first time at A Level, the course is designed to ensure they too are set up with a solid foundation of relevant skills and knowledge from the start of Year 12.
A Level Media Studies develops a range of skills highly valued by both higher education institutions and employers: the ability to read a variety of sources and evaluate their validity; skills of enquiry; the ability to think critically, creatively, and reflectively; practical production skills and the development of organisation, communication and self-motivation skills. Previous A Level Media Studies students have gone on to study a wide variety of subjects at university or completed apprenticeships in a range of employment fields. The course itself is structured in a similar way to the GCSE, consisting of two examinations and one NEA unit.
Component 1 - Media Products, Industries and Audiences: For Component One, the examination focuses on all areas of the media theoretical framework. Section A (media language and representation) focuses on a range of media forms: marketing (film posters), newspapers, print advertisements and music videos. Section B (industries and audiences) focuses on the following media forms: film, newspapers, radio, video games.
Component 2 - Media Forms and Products in Depth: For Component Two, students will explore three set areas: television documentary, magazines and online media. For each of these sections in the exam, students will consider two contrasting texts and will examine how social, historical, political and economic contexts affected their production and the way both historical and contemporary audiences received them. Students will also be expected to analyse how theoretical contexts can be applied to the texts, articulating their understanding in extended written responses.
Component 3 - Cross-Media Production: Students will work individually to create an original media production. The production will be linked to a brief provided by the exam board. Students will be required to produce a cross-media production, which responds to the brief, ensuring that their final submission appeals to a specific target audience. As the NEA is a cross-media production, students will be required to develop their creativity skills across a range of different media, such as video, web design, print production and radio production. Previous tasks have included creating a music marketing campaign and creating a mainstream magazine.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment will consist of a mixture of examinations and non-examined assessment.
Component 1: Written examination - 2 hours 15 mins, 35% of qualification
Component 2: Written examination - 2 hours 30 mins, 35% of qualification
Component 3: Non-exam assessment - Media Production, 30% of qualification
Food Science and Nutrition: This course is available at Vyners as part of our consortium arrangement through our Trust. Students study the WJEC Food Science & Nutrition Level 3 Certificate/Diploma.
In Year 12, students investigate, demonstrate and evaluate their ability to meet the nutritional needs of specific groups and an in-depth understanding of the function, chemical and physiological functions of ingredients is developed. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the science of food safety, nutrition and nutritional needs in a wide range of contexts, and through on–going practical sessions, will gain advanced practical skills to produce quality food items to meet the needs of individuals.
In Year 13, students develop their understanding of the science of food safety and hygiene; essential knowledge for anyone involved in food production in the home or wishing to work in the food industry. Practical sessions will support the gaining of theoretical knowledge and ensure learning is a tactile experience. Studying one of the two optional units allows students the opportunity to study subjects of particular interest or relevance to them, building on previous learning and experiences. Each unit within the qualification has an applied purpose which acts as a focus for the learning in the unit. The applied purpose demands authentic work-related learning in each of the available units. It also requires students to develop an understanding and awareness of how the use and application of their learning impacts on themselves, other individuals, employers, society and the environment.
Product Design: This course is available at Vyners as part of our consortium arrangement through our Trust. Product Design requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study. Students will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning into practice by producing prototypes of their design. This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers, especially those in the creative industries. Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.