To offer an inspirational education for all learners, developing their full technological potential and providing them with the skills to be able to create functioning products – and evaluate their impact.
DT at Oastlers is a very hands-on and tactile subject based around design-and-make projects which utilise a variety of resistant and compliant materials. The placement of each project across Key Stage 3 allows learners to gradually increase their skill base in terms of both knowledge and experience. Learners will be taught to measure, mark out and cut – allowing them to prepare materials. They will also be taught practical skills and techniques which will allow them to be able to join and shape them into functioning products. The acquisition of the necessary finishing skills will allow learners to add some finesse to their completed products.
We take an experiential approach, where learners are first shown the safe and correct use of a range of hand tools and machinery, which they will then go on to manipulate on a variety of practical tasks. Using the equipment safely and appropriately allows our learners to develop their skills in a very kinaesthetic hands-on way.
We encourage creativity, whereby learners will have the opportunity to work within the constraints of a design brief which determines the limits of a piece of work – but also gives them the opportunity to choose a theme or personalise their work in some way. We believe that this gives a sense of ownership to our learners, encouraging them to take pride in their work.
The progression of skills and knowledge at Key Stage 3 puts our learners in the position to be able to make an option choice at Key Stage 4. Currently, the learners are offered the Eduqas GCSE in Design technology which provides learners with the opportunity to identify and solve real life problems by designing and making products or systems. From June 2022 when year 9 move up to KS4, we will take a more therapeutic approach with the emphasis on extending the practical skills in school-based activities.
Through their project work at Oastlers we encourage our learners to develop a critical understanding of the effect that quality design and manufacture has on their daily lives and the wider world in general - gaining an appreciation that it is an on-going cycle of design, make evaluate and re-design. Learners will be given the opportunity to reflect on their work and appreciate alternative methods of production, and to identify further improvements.
DT can involve quite sophisticated decision making and critical thinking, but it can also be a physical activity – requiring exertion and stamina. To this end, DT is an activity which has great therapeutic benefits to our learners either as an outlet for raised energy or excitement, or as a diversion from other issues – such is the focus required whilst in the workshop.
The creative approach to DT at Oastlers allows our learners’ minds to be open to new ideas and to always be on the lookout for potential improvements to existing products – allowing them to view the world around them with a critical but creative eye.