Cheslyn Hay High School : Introduction
I am Simon Maxfield and I am head of the department of design and technology at Cheslyn Hay Sport and Community High School in Staffordshire.
The school is a coeducational 11 – 18 Comprehensive school with about 1,500 pupils on roll.
The school is very caring, with a forward-looking attitude. The ability range of the pupils is around the national average.
Design and technology is well-resourced. We have a long history of offering systems and control and place a strong emphasis on using PICs.
One way in which we are fortunate is that the father of one of our KS3 pupils works in a PCB production company, and they have agreed to ‘mass produce’ school-designed PCBs at cost.
This means that the pupils can use high-quality PCBs, improving what they can achieve and enhancing the image of the subject.
Key stage 3
In common with many schools we organise Y7 and Y8 in design and technology on a rotational basis, with four 18 hour units in Y7 and five 14 hour units in Y8.
However, we recognise that this can lead to a fragmented pupil experience and so we have developed an approach which emphasises the core skills common to all material areas of design and technology.
In the first Unit in Y7, all material areas teach pupils how to develop a design brief and conduct research. When the pupils move to the next materials area, they are expected to use this knowledge. In this second Unit all teachers look in depth at product analysis and developing a specification.
Using this approach, in Y7, we can look in detail at:
We have found that this approach highlights the coherence of design and technology as a subject area, improves the way in which we cover core skills and reduces superficial repetition.
In Y8 we emphasize the links between materials areas and the importance of designing and we use shorter tasks as suggested in the KS3 framework.
At GCSE the pupils can opt for systems and control, product design or food (all covered in the rotation at Y7 and Y8). At the end of Y8 we ask pupils to let us know which of these material areas is their least favorite, and they spend half of Y9 on each of their two preferred areas.