Pupils tackle design-and-make briefs and focused practical tasks in the Fifth Form (Year 9). In addition to developing their practical workshop skills using a variety of resistant materials, they learn how to present and explain their ideas using graphic techniques and ICT. Pupils also learn how to use computer-aided design software and computer-aided manufacturing technology to produce practical prototypes and final outcomes.
GCSE Product Design is 100% coursework, undertaken across the two years. In the Lower Shell (Year 10) pupils continue to develop their practical skills using a range of hand and power tools. Current projects include the manufacture of a clutch pencil using a wood turning lathe and an aluminium lighting unit inspired by the work of Charles and Ray Eames. Late in the spring term, pupils embark on a substantial individual portfolio that comprises 60% of their final grade. The portfolio gives pupils the chance to fully explore their creativity whilst formulating a design brief, contextualised by modern design movements. Projects have ranged from mindful mechanisms, heritage footwear, concrete lighting units, stained glass to conceptual aluminium headdresses, destined for the catwalks of high fashion. Towards the end of the Upper Shell (Year 11), pupils complete an externally assessed project developed in response to a range of themes published by the examination board in January of that year, and which comprises 40% of the final qualification. After a substantial preparatory period, pupils embark on ten hours of sustained focus study to realise their response, unaided.