Key Stage 3

Design Technology is a subject where learners investigate a need or respond to an opportunity to make or modify something. Young people develop their intellectual and creative skills to make products that are useful, both to themselves and other people. It is an opportunity for learners to be inventive and to develop an understanding of the appropriateness of technological actions using modern day equipment such as laser cutters and 3d printers alongside more traditional manufacturing methods.

Students at Pen Y Dre High School study Design Technology or Art for five x 60 minute lessons per fortnight in years 7 and 8 for 20 lessons. After 20 lessons, pupils move to a different Art or Technology discipline covering 5 areas in each year. In Year 9, pupils have three x 60 minute lessons per fortnight for a duration of 12 weeks before moving onto a different Technology focus area. During Key Stage 3, learners embark upon a wide variety design projects covering a wide range of areas including Product Design, Engineering, Systems and Control, and Textiles and we are excited to reintroduce Food Technology when we move into our fantastic new kitchen when Phase 1 of the school refurbishment opens before the end of the Autumn term 2023.

These projects aim to improve each pupil’s knowledge of designing and practical workshop skills. Each year’s schemes of work include increasingly demanding tasks that improve their skills, knowledge and understanding in working with a range of tools and materials.

Learners respond to several briefs set for the class and develop their own designs further.

We are constantly seeking to enable our learners to:

  • Acquire designing and making skills in a range of material areas to enable them to be confident to design, make and modify products and systems for identified purposes, selecting and using resources effectively.
  • Develop the ability to combine their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding in order to design and make quality products.
  • Consider the social, moral and environmental effects and implications of technological activity.
  • Develop critical and aesthetic abilities to evaluate design and technology activity including their own in the context of an identified need.
  • To be able to work individually and as team members.

Learners are also encouraged to develop independence, accuracy and problem solving throughout their project work and to improve their literacy, numeracy and thinking skills, knowledge of designers and careers linked to this subject area.

Enrichment in DT

We also provide a number of wider enrichment activities for our learners developing links with local industry and companies such as Saffon Seats to work with year 7 pupils on a group problem-solving activity to design and prototype a successful restraint mechanism to protect and prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from the top floor of the school building. This year we will be working with  Panasonic on a live brief written by the company.

A group of our key stage three boys and girls were recently invited to go on a site visit to look at the construction work taking place locally at the Cefn Coed Viaduct, as part of Future Valleys Construction project. During the day, learners took part in a group discussion with structural and civil engineers to gain a first-hand insight to job roles and day-to-day life working on site and were encouraged to think about the varied roles available in the construction industry.

Extra Curricular Activities 

We took 15 Yr 9 pupils (8 boys, 7 girls) to the Principality Stadium to undertake and Engineering Challenge organised by ICE and ARUP. 

Pupils worked in teams of 6 to design and construct a prototype of a water tower suitable for rapid construction in developing areas of the African continent. These structures are key for communities in hot climates for storage and distribution of water. Tthe water tower had to be free-standing, at least 1.5m tall and capable of supporting a jug of water on a platform wothout toppling over. Teams had a budget of £10,000 and 3.5 hours to complete the project. All water towers were tested against the specification and the winning design was the one able to support the greatest volume of water whilst still meeting the imposed cost and time constraints.