Design Technology

“A student-centred ethos encourages the development of independent creative learners. It’s important for students to study a wide range of traditional and contemporary techniques to create exciting and personal outcomes, as well as develop a wide range of transferable skills that are valuable within any future career.” Tina Herringshaw – Deputy Director of Visual Arts & Head of Design & Technology at KS3&4.
Design & Technology is divided into four disciplines; Graphic Design, Textile Design, Food & Nutrition and 3D Design.

New technologies are an important part of teaching in all subject disciplines. Our well-equipped workshops, kitchens and design studios offer students the ability to use professional equipment such as an IT suite and our Laser cutting/engraving machine. Our aim is to nurture contemporary design whilst teaching the fundamental ‘hands on’ traditional approaches. We believe that we are developing a truly innovative subject area which continues to support students through further education into areas such as the National School of Furniture, Costume Design, Advertising & Marketing, Catering and Architecture.

At Key Stage 3 students study all four areas on a carousel system to learn and develop key skills in a wide range of applications. Projects at all Key Stages employ a variety of skills - including research, presentation, design, experimenting, making and evaluating.

In Year 7 students cover keys skills in a variety of disciplines to produce a final solution in each subject. Sketchbooks are at the core of learning to teach students the importance of experimentation and the design process as well as creative presentation of ideas. After the foundation skills in Year 7, students are introduced to experimenting with mixed media and stretch their abilities to problem solve and review and refine their work. Health and safety is fundamental within all disciplines.  

In Year 8 students firstly undertake a short rotation of only 8 lessons to re-introduce them to each discipline, before their GCSE option process begins in February. They then have the opportunity to select 2 disciplines to study in more depth for the rest of the year, which helps them to decide which subject may be more suitable for them and develop skills ready for GCSE, should they wish to go on to study Design and Technology at KS4.

Projects and Skills Studied at KS3 in Design & Technology

Discipline Year 7 Year 8
Textiles ‘Succulents’ - appliqued soft sculpture

‘Under the Microscope’ - fine art petri dish

‘Day of the Dead’ – sugar skull soft sculpture

Skills Used: Health & safety, sewing machine skills, hand embellishment techniques, patterns Hand embellishment techniques, patterns, Mexican festival culture, 3D textiles
Graphics ‘Funky Fruit Cafe’ – logo design

‘Coraline’ – Book jacket cover

‘Plastics in the Ocean’ – advertising poster

Skills Used: Colour theory and psychology, logo design, branding and CAD Collage, CAD using Adobe illustrator, typography & composition, variety of printing techniques
3D Design ‘Charley Harper’ – mixed materials memo holder ‘Space Race’ – pewter casting jewellery and cultural jewellery box
Skills Used: Working with wood, metal and plastics, CAD and laser cutting Sand casting, CAD and laser cutting
Food & Nutrition ‘Healthy Eating’ ‘Science of Bread making’
Skills Used: Health & safety, basic nutrition, basic food preparation & cooking skills. Raising agents, basic bread dough recipes, enriched dough recipe.

Design and Technology is now taught across 3 years. As students start their GCSE in Year 9, they are able to build and develop core skills at a more relaxed and supportive pace in this first year. This helps them to understand in depth the core elements of the design process and refine their skills within their chosen discipline. Projects start from broad themes that students personalise to suit their own interests and ideas. Sketchbooks are used as vital tools to record personal visual journeys and make up ¾ of their mark. At the end of the course the students’ achievements are celebrated in our Visual Arts Summer exhibition.

Level 1/2 Vocational Award Hospitality and Catering (Technical Award) 

Our Hospitality & Catering course equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to plan, prepare and cook nutritious dishes as well as the factors which affect menu planning. Through practical lessons, students will learn about health and safety, the importance of nutrition and how cooking methods can impact on nutritional value. The course encourages students to record and apply technical knowledge to dishes, in addition to developing practical skills, time management, teamwork and food production methods. Students will learn about the hospitality and catering industry, the types of hospitality and catering providers and about working in the industry. The course gives students a basic insight in to the Hospitality industry with a view to further study Professional Culinary Arts at college or an apprenticeship within the Hospitality sector.

GCSE Fashion & Textile Design Syllabus: Edexcel

Our exciting KS4 Fashion & Textiles course offers comprehensive tuition in all key textile areas – fashion, printed and dyed textiles, fine art textiles and constructed textiles. Students learn a wide variety of techniques using both machine and hand embellishment tools. Previous projects have included; a ‘Wonderland’ doll, ‘Nature’s Bounty’ repeat pattern printed fabric and a toddlers theatre costume.

GCSE Graphic Communications Syllabus: Edexcel

Our popular KS4 Graphics course gives guided tuition in the key genres of graphic design – typography, graphic illustration, advertising and packaging, working in a range of traditional hand drawn processes, mixed media and digital techniques.

GCSE 3D Design Syllabus: Edexcel

To offer further artistic creativity at KS4, we offer 3D Design as an option for those students interested in working more three dimensionally and creating products. The course covers modules in Product Design (lighting) and Architecture, occasionally extending into Set design.

Director: Ms Claire Pennington (teacher of Art & Textiles) 
Contact details:

Teachers in this Faculty:

  • Mrs Tina Herringshaw-Dodd (Assistant Director; in charge of KS4 Design subjects, teaching Textiles & Art)
  • Ms Lisa Brooks (Assistant Director, in charge of KS3 Design subjects; teacher of Food & Nutrition)
  • Ms Samantha Ponting (teacher of Graphics & Art)
  • Ms Julia Pritchard (teacher of 3D Design & Art)
  • Ms Kathryn Wilson (teacher of Textiles & Art)
  • Ms Maggie Hollings (teacher of Art)
  • Mr Ben Harrison (teacher of Graphics)
  • Mr Ellis Stacey (3D Design technical support)
  • Ms Issy Miller (Art & Design technical support)
  • Ms Sonia Byron (Food & Textiles technical support)

At John Mason School Visual Arts consist of:

  • Art and Design (KS3-5)
  • Graphic Design (KS3-5)
  • Textile Design (KS3-5)
  • 3D Design (KS3-4)
  • Food & Nutrition (KS3-4)

The Visual Arts Faculty prides itself on providing our students with a wide range of opportunities within and beyond the curriculum in a creative and inspiring environment. The study of visual arts subjects encourages creative thinking, problem solving, perseverance and an understanding of various processes, techniques and materials to create a range of innovative and exciting outcomes in a variety of disciplines.

At John Mason we embed key skills in art, craft and design from Year 7 onwards, building students who are able to question, think, record, analyse and plan and create. Our Faculty has an inclusive approach to learning with Creativity and Independent Learning at the heart of all we do. A strong emphasis is placed on equipping students with independent study skills to succeed in our subject areas at high standards and life beyond school, including research, investigation and presentation skills and managing their time, resources and workload.

Our own 06 Gallery is a professional space to exhibit art and design work and showcases our students’ accomplishments as well as occasionally offering exhibition space for local artists and groups and ex-JMS Art and Design post graduates. We offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities and community projects to enrich students’ experience, enjoyment and development in all Visual Arts disciplines.

In short, the ethos of the Visual Arts Faculty is:

  • To inspire engaging visual learning, creative thinking and independent practice
  • To teach practical & organisational skills, problem solving and resilience
  • To provide an enriched curriculum promoting value to Art & Design subjects, inspiring confidence, artistic vision and drive.