Design and Technology

Curriculum Leader Design & Technology and Subject Leader Textiles:

Ms Winters  


Subject Leader Product Design: 

Ms Easington


Food Preparation & Nutrition:

Ms A Gordon


DT Teacher

Mr Prempeh



All students at Sydenham school study Textiles in year 7 and 8 with the option to continue onto the GCSE course through year 9-11. It is our intention they finish each Key stage with an increasingly secure knowledge of what it means to be a responsible consumer and designer. The fashion and textile industry contributes billions to the global market each year but notoriously drains the worlds resources and damages it’s environment. Knowing what products are made from, how they are made, where they come from and who made them contributes to students understanding of the impact their choices and decisions have on the wider world.  

It is our intent that every student enters their textiles lessons confident and curious. Through the meticulous planning of practical projects and the use of engaging, flexible teaching strategies, we respond to the needs of all ability ranges, SEND needs, minority groups, genders and cultural backgrounds. We provide a safe environment where students are encouraged and supported to problem solve, take risks and discover their interests and talents. We provide clear direct instruction through focused practical tasks covering a wide range of techniques, processes, equipment and machinery with increasing complexity. Systematic and immediate assessment and feedback guides learners to use specialist tools and components with confidence and precision to manufacture high quality functional products which reflect the wants and needs of our modern and diverse society.   

Embedded in every project is the opportunity to unpick the work of other designers including historical design movements, modern fashion, textiles, interior and costume designers. This is an age-old design strategy, supported by our National curriculum and exam board, that has proven to be greatly effective in igniting students creativity and innovation, increasing their awareness of opportunities in design and manufacture and helping them realise their own creative 2D and 3D fashion and textile outcomes. Students have been delighted and in awe by the scale and grandeur of designs displayed in the V&A on visits to the museum.  Equally effective at drawing out possibilities from our young designer’s minds are our studies of biomimicry, geometry, cultures and sub cultures. From KS4 upwards students have access to Computer aided design and manufacturing tools. These build on their previously leant skills in design communication, honing their ability to communicate effectively and with speed and accuracy, for example developing complex surface decoration, repeat patterns and colour ways or developing technical drawings for manufacturing specifications.  

In Design & Technology Textiles we value hard work, perseverance and resilience. We strive to embed these good habits and key skills in our students to prepare them for their next stage of life and education. We quickly identify strengths and encourage independence as well as peer tutoring when appropriate.  Students rigorously critique, evaluate and test their ideas to ensure they meet the high demands of their own values and their client needs and wants. 

It is our ambition for the young people who study with us to leave our department as responsible and innovative designers who curiously seek out opportunities to improve the world and their futures.  

Food Technology

Our school recognises the importance of a healthy diet and the significant connection between a healthy diet and a student’s ability to learn effectively. We are dedicated to providing an environment that promotes healthy eating and enable all students to make informed food choices. This is being achieved by the whole school approach to healthy food provision and a comprehensive Food and Nutrition education curriculum.  

As part of their work with food, pupils are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life. In years 7 and 8 we: *Study the principles of nutrition and health. *Cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes so that they are able to feed themselves and others a healthy and varied diet. *Develop competence in a range of cooking techniques [for example, selecting and preparing ingredients; using utensils and electrical equipment; applying heat in different ways; using awareness of taste, texture and smell to decide how to season dishes and combine ingredients; adapting and using their own recipes] *Explore the source, seasonality and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients.

The GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course enables students to make connections between theory and practice so that they are able to apply their understanding of food science and nutrition to practical cooking. The course includes:

1. Food commodities – studied in food groups to represent into all areas of the Eatwell Guide 

2. Principles of nutrition – Macronutrients and micronutrients 

3. Diet and good health – specific dietary needs at all stages of the life cycle 

4. The science of food – he working characteristics and the chemical properties 

5. Provenance- where food comes from 

6. Cooking and food preparation- to include a wide range of technical skill

Product Design

Product Design at Sydenham School aims at developing skills of resilience and higher-order thinking skills, which we teach through practical projects and teaching the impact of products on society as a whole.  The focus in all projects is that the product must be fit for purpose to solve a specific problem for a specific user.  This kind of user-centred design is the main ethos in any kind of modern design endeavour and encourages empathy and investigation into not only the client, but also the context and environment in the product would be used.  The process of designing and making is a rigorous process of iterative design, in which there is a constant flow of investigation, experimentation, evaluation and reiteration of progressively more complex ideas, which arrive at the final proposal.  The fact that this is not straightforward and easy, means that students develop resilience and patience as they work through problems and setbacks, making the final products all the more rewarding.  In a sense, the product is secondary to the transferrable skills which are learnt in the process of designing and making in the workshop. 

By Teaching deliberate practice to our students, they develop the confidence to use tools, machines, CAD and a wide range of materials, with confidence, competence and safety.    Very early on in each project, starting from Year 7, students use machines as independently as possible, so that each year the units of work get increasingly complex, and the final products more rewarding for students to take home.  By the time students reach A-Level Product Design, they are well-skilled and are able to create more adventurous, exciting designs because of their enhanced skills of graphical communication and workshop knowledge and skills. 

A key facet of our learning is understanding how a product fits into the complex web of society and the environment.  By teaching students about inclusive design, ethical sourcing and manufacturing and sustainability in designing and manufacturing, they gain insights into the wider world and the place we all have in making the world a better place to be, for all of the organisms on the planet. 

We run projects inspired by Art Deco, Arts & Crafts, Bauhaus, Modernism and Post-Modernism. By developing an appreciation of the design movements as well as past designers like Dieter Rams, as well as current designers like Zaha Hadid and Philipe Starck, we not only help students learn their place in recent history by linking the content to History and Art, we also give them inspiration from out of their usual influences.  

We are strong believers that the old and new complement each other, and with regard to technology, we build strong links between traditional workshop manufacturing and CAD/CAM.  At key-stage 3,  students are taught to become familiar with CAD/CAM and at key-stage 4 and 5 become skilled at using 2D and 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) and creating products on our CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) equipment:  on our laser-cutter, CNC vinyl-cutter and our 3D printer. 

Projects are created in such a way that every student who attends regular classes, will walk away with a finished product at the end of the project.  There is extension work for those who work at a faster pace, and all lessons are well-differentiated so that everyone learns at the appropriate pace for their abilities and skills.  We are a highly inclusive department, having modified machines where necessary so that all students can take part in practical activities, and offering extra-curricular support 

Projects and theory learning is sequenced in such a way as to create a strong foundation of knowledge and skills at year 7, giving momentum for incremental development as projects and expectations increase, year on year.  By year 9, when students enter GCSE, they will have a solid base of skills and knowledge to delve deeper and begin to work more independently, leading to challenging and innovative proposals and final products at GCSE.  At A-Level this is taken up a step, with students working far more independently and starting their final project with no context at all, just a client whom they must research and interview to identify a problem which they must solve, as designers.  This mimics the practices of professional and industrial product design, so students entering this field at university level are well-prepared.  

There are regular extra-curricular activities such as Jewellery Club and after-school intervention sessions, where students can come for assistance or to work independently on their own projects, in the workshop.  The ethos of the department is that the workshop tools belong to the students and as such, should be used as much as possible, not only in formal lesson time.  We also offer organise trips to exciting venues in London such as the Design Museum, the V&A and Science Museum.  

It is our ambition that students take Product Design up to the end of A-Level and leave us to go on to successful careers in the multi-million pound creative industries in the UK and abroad.  Past Product Design students have gone on to such creative endeavours as studying industrial design and going on to create successful design companies, taking architecture courses at university and we have a student who went to do higher qualifications in joinery, who now works all over Europe in designing and building sets for movie and TV.  That said, we believe that the soft skills taught in Product Design will help any student in whichever field they find themselves. 

Curriculum and Assessment Information for Parents and Carers
Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Sixth Form