Design, Technology and Media
Design Technology at Bede’s continues to go from strength to strength, at a time when the subject finds itself being diminished in many UK schools.
The underlying belief behind the work of the Design and Technology Department at Bede's is that all pupils can be encouraged to develop the skills of designing and making, and problem solving to a greater or lesser degree.
In an economic environment where the UK finds itself in real need of young people with design and manufacture knowledge and skills, the experiences we give DT pupils sets them up brilliantly for a wide variety of skilled careers and tertiary education.
Design theory goes into great depth, teaching iterative design and research strategies to enable students to create products that successfully meet real client needs. The subject now encompasses a wide range of new skills and techniques that reflect advances in industrial manufacturing.
Whilst it is important for pupils to continue to develop sound craft skills, the use of technology in modern manufacturing cannot be ignored and this should now be reflected in the work pupils undertake. Computer Aided Drawing (CAD), Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM), Control Systems and the use of microprocessors and smart materials all feature in the broad but deep curriculum. These new technologies have now become an important influence in the approach adopted within the department yet it is hoped that a balance can be struck and pupils are encouraged to use both the more traditional craft skills and ICT to enhance the quality and range of the products that they produce.
Our Sixth Form provision is the jewel in the DT crown at Bede’s. We offer students the chance to gain a broader understanding of Design outside the classroom, with activities that support and reinforce classroom teaching, including visits to the Design Museum, and the Mini factory; here they experience design challenges led by working Product Designers and can see JIT (Just In Time) manufacture in the real world respectively.
Other real-world experiences include the opportunity to enter work for the South of England show, where we regularly win awards in the Young Artisan competition (including Jaz, pictured right with his 2019 award-winning bench). We have good links with local engineering and Product Design businesses. Often seen as a ‘boy’s subject’, we are very proud of the high uptake of girls into DT, often going on to university courses such as Architecture and Design Engineering.
Through our Scholars’ and the Co-Curricular programmes, we encourage and enable pupils to broaden their practical and design experience outside the constraints of the curriculum, whether it be in Joinery Masterclass, or Jewellery Making.
We are proud of the achievements of each and every pupil within the department; whether or not they decide to take their DT studies beyond their First Year at Bede's.
Computing and Information Technology form a major aspect of our lives today, whether we like it or not. Applications are more pervasive than ever before and our behaviours and use of apps and devices is constantly evolving.
In the Fifth Form, the offering remains a balance between a discrete course in Computer Science and a vocational course in IT. When making their choices, pupils have the option of taking the Cambridge Nationals in Information Technologies.
The IT course has a split of 25% exam and 75% course work. This allows pupils to take a much more creative approach, having the chance to develop resources such as websites, multi-media presentations, movies, apps, as well as gain an introduction to programming.
The Computer Science GCSE educates pupils in how to become a competent programmer as well as giving them technical knowledge of how computers work. The specification also encourages students to gain an understanding of systematic methods such as the use of algorithms and test strategies. This is 100% exam based, consisting of two written papers.
Our Sixth Form offering in ICT and Computing is now also evolving, the purpose being to provide a much wider student cohort the opportunity to develop their understanding and skills in ICT and Computing during their Sixth Form years.
With an increasing use of technology in all aspects of society, it makes sense to give all of our senior pupils the opportunity to develop a confident, creative and productive use of ICT in readiness for university or work.
All Sixth Form pupils will have the opportunity of guided learning hours to complete an EPQ focusing on IT solution areas such as mobile application development, cyber security, robotics or game development.
This is an ideal opportunity for pupils who are aiming at a career in Science, DT, Economics, Finance, Business or Media, Engineering and Maths, or even vocational services such as construction and health care, to add a working knowledge of key IT areas such as programming and application development to their skillset.
Our First Years receive an introduction to the applications essential to their GCSE courses such as Word and Excel and also learn how to organise their work and communicate using common email platforms as well create effective presentations. First Years also have the option to take a discrete computing course.
The department encourages pupils to further their interests in a number of different areas through co-curricular activities including Cyber Centurion and Cyber Assess challenges, as well as entering a range of computer programming challenges such as Bebras and the Turing competition.
In addition to work completed inside the classroom, pupils have the opportunity to visit Bletchley Park, the country’s main decryption establishment during World War II.
In a globalised, networked world where so many elements of personal, family and professional life are mediated, it becomes imperative that pupils are critically aware, media literate and perhaps above all, curious about the potential and influence of media environment in which we live.
How does the marketing industry seek to target our desires and our insecurities? Are Facebook, Google and Twitter really free or are we paying with another form of currency? Can a social network really influence elections and who decides which stories make the news and which stories are ignored? How have grassroots online movements like #Metoo and #Blacklivesmatter contributed to global discourse around Gender and Race? And what about women's magazines and advertising... what role do they have to play in a culture said to be increasingly narcissistic and body-fixated? How have smartphones revolutionised mass communication?
Film and Media pupils get to explore these sort of issues and many more besides. Alongside our classroom investigations, we also make media ourselves. We shoot on Panasonic GH5 digital cameras and edit on Apple Final Cut Pro. Pupils also have the opportunity to learn Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and After Effects.
From film trailers to short documentaries, magazine features to full print campaigns or web-based virals, you will get the chance to get stuck in and be creative alongside qualified experts in their field. You will learn how to collaborate on dynamic projects, from page to screen in supportive yet challenging workshops that encourage you to experiment and pursue excellence.
Those who take the subject at Sixth Form, whether as A Level Media Studies or as BTEC Media Production, will find the course to be very much pupil led. You will have a great deal of freedom to create media that reflects your interests and helps to support your career aspirations or university targets. Pupils can work on projects linked to fashion, sport, journalism, animation, photography and graphic design.
On the theory side of the A Level course, we explore gender, race, political bias, audience theory, post-colonial theory and postmodern theory in great detail, using media texts to deepen understanding of the world. In this sense, A Level media is not dissimilar to English Literature, except that we explore films, television, newspapers and magazines instead of plays, novels and poems. The academic principle is the same. By studying cultural products in detail, we learn about wider contexts.
Learning throughout GCSE and A Level is supported by a range of enrichment opportunities which include masterclasses and trips. Masterclasses focus on areas such as postmodern theory, a technical focus on advanced key-frame editing in Final Cut Pro and on sound design as well as a careers seminar on working at the BBC.
The trips scheduled to support the curriculum include a visit to a BBC studio and to the Royal Television Society Careers Fair, a visit to the Depot Cinema in Lewes for a Cinematography Workshop as well as a Soho post-production studio. Every other year, we also take a trip to New York.
If you want to work in the Media and Film industries, then these courses will give you a great introduction and help you find your specific interests.
But even if you want to be a lawyer or a graphic designer or a nurse, one thing is for sure. Mass media will be a significant presence in your life and if you know a bit about how it works, then you have an advantage that will help you to flourish, in whatever direction you choose.