With our large school community at Tanglin, including students from Nursery to Sixth Form, there is a continual supply of challenges to solve that require the skills we teach in the new D&T curriculum. These are not just creative and technical skills, they also include empathy and resilience. We see a real sense of satisfaction when students collaborate to conceive D&T solutions that will benefit the community – and when these ideas can be designed and manufactured into products 'in house' there is tangible pride and purpose.
The recent circuit breaker and the ongoing changes to our daily routines have presented new challenges for our community. But from such challenges come opportunities for novel and relevant learning experiences for our children. Fortunately, in an educational setting, we are always keen to learn new skills and adapt our approaches. This has become very clear from the recent community effort of staff, parents and students to successfully steer ourselves through remote learning and the socially-distanced return to school. The new routines of temperature checking, masks, face shields and safe-distancing procedures have now become integrated into school life.
As we started to think about the next academic year and welcoming new pupils to the school, we saw an opportunity to support our Infant School with their health and safety measures. During the first two weeks of the TTS Foundation Summer Programme, we set ourselves a challenge to design and manufacture at least one face shield per child for the new Nursery cohort. This proved to be a compelling introduction to Design and Technology for Year 8 students.
The designs are themed to the different animals of the eight Nursery class bases and the Head of Nursery, Victoria Thomas, provided ongoing feedback. Over the course of the two weeks, students worked on a range of processes and there was a real buzz in the studio, even though they were spread out to enable practical work to happen safely.
Students cut and laminated the designs, used a laser-cut template to form the shield, attached repurposed foam head strips before using plastic press studs to attach the final piece of elastic. Despite the large production run, students had to focus on quality over quantity, with quality control at each stage of production to check that every shield reached the appropriate standard. There were many opportunities during this project to learn about the importance of creative subjects, the duty of care when designing and making for others, as well as topics such as forms of production and individual processes.
As work drew to a close last Friday, 320 face shields had been manufactured, equating to two shields per Nursery student. These will go through a final quality check by staff before being donated in time for the new school year.