Innovation and Design
Departmental approach to the curriculum
Welcome to the Innovation & Design page. Here you will find out everything you need to know about our department including what we teach and how we assess our pupils.
Innovation & Design at The Rickmansworth School aims to inspire and motivate students through a demanding, stimulating, and innovative curriculum. It is a department of enthusiastic teachers with expertise in each of its GCSE subject areas, supported by a full time technician. Lessons are taught in purpose built Design rooms with suitable state-of-the-art and well-equipped, specialist classrooms and workshops.
Projects provide interest, and challenge and are relevant to modern life. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within various contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.
They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, and computing. Students learn to take risks and become resourceful, innovative, enterprising, and capable citizens. Through the evaluation, they will analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden daily life and the wider world. High-quality Innovation Design education makes an essential contribution to the resilience, creativity, culture, wealth, and well-being of the nation.
KS3 lessons build skills, prepare students for their AQA GCSE Engineering and equip them for later life, through an appreciation of design.‘The original idea makes design distinctive, the function makes it work and quality adds value ‘ Serge Zuev
The students have the opportunity to complete practical tasks in each module and are encouraged to take these items home.
Students at the Rickmansworth School develop the foundations of Innovation and Design by exploring core skills required throughout Key Stages 3, 4, and 5 following our program of study ‘An Introduction to Innovation and Design’. Students are given the opportunity to work with various materials and apply this to a range of projects along with the foundations of drawing and design skills and an introduction to CAD. At the core of this, students are required to solve problems, consider environmental issues and develop the necessary skills to work safely in a practical subject. This builds on the basic principles that students may have developed in KS2.
Project 1 – Students start with a skills-based project whereby they design and make an electronic Flashing Badge for a specific target user. In this project, students are introduced to the workshop and safe working practices using some of the machines and tools available to them. Maths plays an important role in this project as students are expected to mark out measurements and key markings using the correct tools and units to produce an accurate and quality outcome. Students are assessed on their accuracy, quality of outcome, and individual ability to work independently and safely.
Project 2 – Following a booklet-based curriculum students continue to build the foundations of knowledge of materials and processes following on to the introduction of the Link Toy Project. The program of study also introduces them to basic drawing skills such as 1-point perspective and isometric drawing. Some CAD drawing is introduced too. Additionally, another skills-based continues with students working with linkages and mechanisms to create a bespoke biomimicry-inspired toy project. Students use CAD and CAM technologies to manufacture a well-finished product to help them understand the working properties of materials. The first year of Innovation ad Design at the Rickmansworth School also sees the introduction and development of their understanding of environmental, social, and cultural issues in design. A knowledge assessment finalises the program of study.
Students build on and strengthen prior learning and are encouraged to develop independence. There is a continued focus on CAD, necessary at Key Stages 4. Alongside this, students are introduced to papers, boards, composites, and smart materials as well as fabrics and rapid prototyping techniques. Types of motion are explored through a skills-based project as well as Ergonomics in products. The scheme of learning provides opportunities for students to further enhance their confidence in drawing and designing techniques with encouragement to boost creativity through the manufacture of a high-quality outcome.
Project – Building on the previous year, students develop their drawing and designing skills and implement this in the development of coordination in the Steady Hand Game and a Tea Light Candle project. Reinforcing workshop safety considerations students set to work manufacturing their product with the use of jigs and templates. Further development of designing is key with the introduction of exploded diagrams, 2-point perspective, and aspects of some importance in Key Stage 4 AQA Engineering specifications. The skills-based project also develops students’ knowledge of different types of materials, and ergonomic considerations and builds confidence and independence in practical scenarios, a requirement and focus in all areas of Innovation and Design throughout the key stages.
Students at the Rickmansworth School embark on the final Key Stage 3 program of study before taking their Key Stage 4 options. Encompassing prior learning students build on this with an introduction to industry-standard 3D CAD –Fusion 360 and 2D Techsoft. A workshop design and make of a Propeller Powered car, allow them the freedom to work with CAD and CAM once more and support their mini-portfolio by showcasing their skills in CAD and hand drawings, sketches designs, and manufacture. A need to understand electronic systems at Key Stage 4 sees students carry out another mini-design and make a project which allows them to build an understanding of design briefs, specifications, and design developments through the iterative design of a Light project incorporating scientific principles and mechanisms when designing the stem design. Enveloping all of the projects is a focus on materials and processes and an understanding that products are developed and created for specific needs and users
- CAD development program – Fusion 360
- Why designers and engineers use CAD and CAM
- Sketch development
- Iterative design and prototype modelling
- Dimensioned exploded views
- Using CAD to develop working drawings
- Transferring 2D designs to CAM – Use of laser cutter for product embellishment
- How to write a manufacturing specification
- Materials and manufacturing processes
- Electrical systems, components, and schematic symbols and diagrams
Year 10 and 11
GCSE Students who opt for the AQA GCSE Engineering course follow a program of study throughout Year 10 which builds on prior learning and more, to prepare them for controlled assessment and the 2-hour exam at the end of Year 11. Helping to reinforce this is a range of small mini-projects that change regularly to keep our students enthused. These include projects that support the theory but also allow for an opportunity to get in the workshop and explore manufacturing techniques, tools, and processes alongside some design development to build an understanding of the iterative design process. As they come to the end of year 10 they start their major project which consists of a controlled, internally assessed portfolio that shows the development of a product fitting to a theme released by the exam board. Students must show that they can explore and carry out suitable research, design their products, model them and justify changes and iterations before manufacturing them independently and safely. They must show evidence of testing and an ability to critically evaluate their final prototype outcome.
- Engineering Materials
- Engineering Manufacturing Processes
- Testing and Investigation
- The Impact of Modern Technologies
- Practical Engineering Skills
- Multiple choice questions assessing the breadth of knowledge.
- Short answer questions assessing in-depth knowledge, including calculations.
- Multiple choice questions related to the application of practical engineering skills.
- Extended response questions drawing together elements of the specification.
How it's assessed
Written examination: 2 hours.
60% of GCSE.
Non-exam assessment (NEA)
- Substantial ‘design and make’ task.
- Problem analysis.
- Developing design ideas.
- Production of a prototype.
In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above will be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner.
A brief set by AQA released on 1 June in the first year of study.
Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence.
Work is internally marked and externally moderated (AQA).
How it's assessed
- 30 hours approximately.
- 80 marks.
- 40% of GCSE.
Long Term Curriculum Overviews
'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map
'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map
This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 4. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum.
Department Assessment Matrix
This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3 and 4.
Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors
These documents give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.
How can you help your child succeed in Innovation and Design?
Students might like to visit some of these places to further their understanding. Most of these are free to attend.
The Heritage https://bicesterheritage.co.uk/
Land Rover https://www.jardinemotors.co.uk/land-rover/dealership/birmingham-north/?utm_source=local-pack&utm_medium=organic
Helpful websites and further information
KS4 Specification https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/engineering/gcse/engineering-8852/specification-at-a-glance
Design and Technology https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zvg4d2p
Education Quizzes https://www.educationquizzes.com/gcse/