Department: Design

Head of Department: Mrs C Gildea

If you wish to learn more about the curriculum, please contact the Head of Department by email:

‘Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.’   Edward de Bono

Curriculum Intent

The Design Department at Oaklands offers, courses which allow students to develop knowledge, skills and abilities relating to the study of Art, Design and Technology and Food Preparation and Nutrition.

Over time we will teach students how to become more resilient, resourceful, innovative and capable citizens with an understanding of their responsibility to protect the world in which we live, this supports the values and virtues that the school upholds.

Our subject provides opportunities for students to develop responsibility and leadership skills.  For example, Year 12 and 13 students act as ambassadors for the subject at taster days and open evenings. Year 11 students have to explain there products to an unfamiliar audience during the Design Showcase event.

The department firmly believes that students learn best by ‘doing’.  This enables students to develop a detailed knowledge of media, materials, ingredients, systems and processes. We aim to embrace new technologies and resemble modern industrial processes, whilst retaining the best of traditional practices. At the heart of this, is the desire to deliver a curriculum in which students produce high quality outcomes. Students must learn about the social and ethical responsibilities of designers and engineers for example at KS3 they learn about health and safety, food miles, fair trade, consumerism and sustainability. In KS4 examples of this include legislation relating to design and manufacture, consumer protection law, marketing forces, the circular economy and intellectual property rights.

Our Design Curriculum is ambitious because:

  • Our students have a wide variety of experiences of Design subjects at KS2 our KS3 schemes of work gradually build up students’ knowledge, understanding and skills. So that by Year 9 students have significant autonomy in their work.
  • Students are encouraged to design complex products, final pieces and dishes that will challenge their practical skills and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
  • At KS4 and 5 students are encouraged to be adventurous in their designing and develop their ideas thoroughly through, experimenting, modelling, and exploring a wide range of possibilities.
  • Resilience and perseverance are key attributes that are encouraged in all students through the work that they do.
  • In Art and Design and Technology subjects students learn about the work of artists, designers and about cultures and cuisines from all over the world and can discuss the impact that they have had.
  • In KS4 Food, students are encouraged to be adventurous in their dishes using as many high skilled dishes in the development of their menus.
  • Students learn about the social and moral issues associated with the work of artists, designers and  the food industries. For example, they learn about how art can be used to raise awareness of political issues, how design/engineering projects can have positive and negative impacts on society and how food choices can impact on the environment. These elements contribute to our response to Catholic Social teaching.
  • Within the curriculum opportunities are found to discus and evaluate the values and virtues that not only support the school ethos but provide a moral compass of students.
  • SEN students are well supported within the Design Department and all project work is accessible to all students.  Quality First Teacher or Adaptive Teaching  with  1-1 help for SEN and other students who find tasks/activities difficult provides the necessary support for students to succeed.
  • The Dept has a range of modified equipment available for students who have additional needs.

We are committed to delivering a curriculum accessible to all which provides the broadest possible range of opportunities for students. Students will learn through a variety of activities, such as demonstration, research, analysis and evaluation, idea generation and practical tasks. Students will gain the knowledge to produce a range of products in a variety of materials, forms, styles and ingredients, using different tools, equipment, techniques and processes.

Our design curriculum will allow students to become self-motivated and confident learners, who can work independently and as part of a team. Our main priority is for students to be creative problem solvers who are not afraid of making mistakes and who develop a passion for the subjects. As students progress we hope they will independently seek out, and draw upon, a range of information sources in order to help generate, develop or realise their designs/artwork/products. This will assist in understanding the characteristics and properties of a variety of materials, media and ingredients, and to manipulate those by the accurate and effective use of appropriate tools, equipment, techniques and processes in order to produce the intended outcome.

Updated July 22