Design and Technology

Pupils at OLA study Design and Technology from year 5 in the Junior School and continue to build their skills through the Senior School.

Design and Technology allows the pupils to be inspired, creative and challenged by following a broad curriculum that is directly related to the world around them and which also gives insight into related careers such as manufacturing and engineering. Pupils are taught the same design process that is used in industry and learn to develop their own personal learning and thinking skills. They learn to make their own decisions in order to solve problems which will occur whilst they are designing and manufacturing their ideas. Pupils learn to become:


  • Independent enquirers, able to critically analyse existing products
  • Creative thinkers, taking responsibility for their own decisions
  • Reflective learners, able to evaluate their own work and each others
  • Team workers, able to offer each other constructive input
  • Self managers, able to plan the use of their time and the resources available
  • Effective participators, able to share their knowledge and apply their skills in other areas of school life

Developed well, these skills will enable pupils to enter work and adult life as confident and capable individuals.


The curriculum

In September 2013, OLA opened a new purpose-built facility with a good balance of both traditional manufacturing equipment and new state-of-the-art technology. The machines include  a laser cutter, a 3D router and a 3D printer.

The curriculum offered covers the design and manufacture of projects that use a range of materials such as card, wood, plastic and metal. Pupils will develop a range of techniques and processes for working with and modeling these materials. The projects also cover Electronics and Graphic Design.

Each year group works on the following topics and projects:

Year 5: Basic workshop skills and painting – create a desk tidy

Year 6: Structures – build a bridge; Electronics – make a credit-card sized torch

Year 7: Product design – design and make a Tangram puzzle, including packaging

Year 8: Mechanisms – design and make a mechanical toy

Year 9: Electronics – design and make a night-light clock in the style of the Memphis Design school

At GCSE, pupils can choose Product Design as one of their optional subjects. We also offer Product Design at A Level. 

Clubs and extra-curricular activities

D&T has offered a range of clubs, which differ from term to term depending on pupils’ interests. They have so far covered automotive design, jewellery making, electronics and the manufacture of a replica of Scott of the Antarctic’s sledge. Currently there are clubs running for the year 10s and 11s to enhance their skills for GCSE.

The department is often involved with the many cultural aspects of the school, from helping those involved with the Young Enterprise Scheme to helping in construction for the annual Christmas Fair.

Field trips

Our Year 10 GCSE Product Design pupils visited to Jaguar in 2013 and 2014, with a view to understanding more about mass production and lean manufacturing.

The Jaguar plant is in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham and covers 112 acres, building three models – the XJ, XF and XK. It employs about 2,000 people and is responsible for building the bodies (called Body-in-White, BIW), painting them and trimming them out to create a fully finished vehicle ready for sale. Every vehicle built is built to order so it is possible for a customer to go and see their actual car being built.

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