Without design, we have nothing; every product that we use, room that we walk into and image that we see is the fruit of an impassioned creative re-envisioning how our lives could be improved or enriched by good design. The Design Technology Department at Southend High School is renowned for its creativity coupled with an academic rigour that allows students to access higher concepts of conscientious design, materials science and innovation. The students that pass through our doors will develop a confident enthusiasm for working with different materials, equipment, and software to prepare for a future working in an increasingly technological world. To study design here is also to study people and their specific contexts, considering why we make the decisions we do about brands, products, and services. Our students are encouraged to evaluate markets and patterns in behaviours, broadening their societal views and encouraging them to think, appraise, and to question: all the knowledge in the world means nothing if we cannot use it to solve problems. At Southend High School for Girls, we synthesise knowledge from mathematics, science, the environment, sociology, business, marketing, history, and art to create solutions, producing intellectually curious students with a considered worldview.
What does it feel like to be a student in the Design Technology Department?
Design Technology is more than a subject at Southend High School for Girls; it is an ethos, forging interdisciplinary links between your other subjects. From the very first lesson in Year 7 you will be challenged to consider the impact of your design choices with a real focus on shaping you as a conscientious consumer who is informed and able to make sustainable life choices. As you grow through the school, you will learn about marketing strategy, enabling you to analyse and discern; essential skills for young people to navigate the media messages to which they are exposed. You will then study innovation, looking at the products that shaped us and the individuals and strategies that created them. All of this learning is underpinned with substantial practical experience, and you will leave KS3 with skills and confidence in working with timber, metal, polymers, papers, textiles and electrical components.
Opportunities at KS4 and 5 are broad; you will be able to undertake a qualification in any of the different technology disciplines. There is no single skill that will define you as a student of Design Technology. You need to both reflect and evolve. You need rigour and structured thinking, but also the ability to ‘jump the curve.’ Your practical ability will be nurtured and challenged; so too will your ability to practically apply mathematics and materials science to the problems you are trying to solve through your studies. You will need to analyse and opine; criticism is a vital function of design process and you will learn the value of independent thinking and expression, leaving you thoroughly prepared to enter higher education and the workplace.