At Brockwood Park this subject is taught in small groups of up to 5 students. The groups contain students of varying ability in design and practical skills, aged from 14 to 19 years old. Some have had much experience in making things and others have not used tools before. The students also vary in their intentions, some being content to spend all year on one ambitious project whilst others feel compelled to complete their idea within a lesson or two. This absence of uniformity has influenced the way this subject is taught here.
A positive choice has been made to give students the opportunity to work on their personal ideas and interests, assisting them to develop these according to thematic, material or technical considerations in consultation with their teacher. The classes are offered as a ‘non-examination subject option’ and lesson plans and whole-class teaching are not generally used because each student is following his or her own project based designs. All work starts with the motivation of the student, and theory and technique are taught only as the need arises from the current project. There are no tests or formal assessments, but what has been learnt from the project is reviewed on its completion.
Clive Dunkley, Staff from UK