The Design Technology Department consists of 3 full time teachers plus 2 technicians. There are 3 well equipped workshops with two of these geared towards GCSE and A Level examination work. The third smaller workshop caters mainly to the Key Stage 3 students as well as some work in Key Stage 4. Equipment caters for many traditional techniques such as engineering lathe-work, wood-turning, alloy casting, thermoforming, welding, brazing, bench-work in a range of resistant and compliant materials through hand-tools and bench-top equipment such as scroll saws, disc sanders and column drills. Additionally, students carry out a wide range of CAD / CAM work with a laser cutter and 3D printer in each workshop and a Boxford 3D router, all of which are used extensively as rapid-prototyping tools during product development and final manufacture. There is a strong emphasis on combining traditional designing and manufacturing methods with the more modern CAD / CAM techniques.
There are two CAD suites, each with 14 desktops and two design studios which enable thorough and varied types of research, creative concept generation and the all-important detailed developments modelled on computer. There is an ‘in-house’ facility for the complete manufacture of our F1 cars, where Dubai College has had much global success in the ‘F1 in Schools’ competition. After school workshop and CAD activities run on most days throughout the year to support students in the design and manufacture of their F1 cars and also to support examination students in their practical tasks.
The department helps students to appreciate that Design Technology continues to evolve as a ‘thinking’ subject. It is frequently taken for granted that products we use in our daily lives, from furniture to toothbrushes, from sunglasses to cutlery, are just there and can be selected when we purchase them. We try to make students aware that we can control and create such products in ways that we want to use them and in ways that we would like them to exist. Growing environmental concerns are changing the type and range of everyday products that we use and it is our budding young product designers who need to be given the responsibility, knowledge and opportunities for innovation to help maintain an interactive, enjoyable and healthy lifestyle for us all.
Students build a foundation of research, designing and manufacturing skills along with materials and manufacturing knowledge in order to equip them for small-scale product design tasks. Identifying market trends, with product analysis skills helps students to understand the key design features in a range of household products which makes them ‘desirable’. A wide range of traditional, as well as modern, designing and manufacturing techniques, are experienced whilst there is an emphasis on developing knowledge and skills in harmony with the many diverse product design tasks being worked on. There is a strong emphasis on analytical evaluation whereby every prototype is considered to have the potential for being purchased ‘off the shelf’.
Around a quarter (35 students) annually opt to continue their Design Technology education as a GCSE subject.
With the Key Stage 3 course under their belts, students are able to further consolidate and enhance their knowledge and skills in the first two terms of Year 10, followed by a major design and make task at the end of Year 10 and into Year 11 which forms their Non Examination Assessment (NEA) element of the course, (worth 50% of the GCSE along with one written paper, also worth 50% of the GCSE). Approximately a quarter of our GCSE students decide to continue studying Design Technology as one of their A Level subjects to assist in securing their University place, often on some sort of Design, Engineering or Architectural degree course.
AQA – Design & technology (8552)
Over 80% grades A or A* over the last 5 years for GCSE
At Dubai College, it is an expectation that students approach their Design Technology studies as budding professional product designers. High standards are promoted and students tend to be very well-motivated, achieving some impressively innovative and potentially commercial products. An annual exhibition of work showcases the student outcomes at all levels of examination.
Many of our previous A Level DT students continue to pursue a Design Technology related career path and have become successful product designers, design consultants, mechanical engineers, architects, jewellery designers, landscape designers, brand designers, interior designers, aeronautical engineers and civil engineers, to mention just a few.
AQA – Design & Technology: Product Design (7552)
(50% NEA (coursework) and two 25% written papers)
Over 80% grades A or A* over the last 5 years for A Level
What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?
One needs to display: inspiration, organisation, cooperation, health and fitness, energy, empathy, determination, willingness, innovation, creativity, honesty, integrity, endurance, resilience and above all, a sense of humour.
What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?
Exactly the same as what it takes to be a good teacher at Dubai College (see above).
In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?
A long-standing tradition of success built upon people: characters, personalities, team-players, team-leaders, a sense of belonging and identity where for many students and teachers, past and present, it has been a galvanising part of their up-bringing, home life, citizenship and professional development. Dubai College has been for many, a community and a way of life; the Dubai College way.
Who or what inspires you?
Being in an environment where there is a true opportunity to be brilliant.
Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.
Even though a 100% Welsh Welshman from Wales I’ve never played a game of rugby in my life.
Mr G Roberts, Head of Design Technology