The world has been transformed by technology in the last twenty years. Everything - the way we communicate, obtain information, organise our lives and spend our free time - is profoundly affected by the electronics that surround us.
We live in a digital universe and this has opened up whole new industries, career paths and opportunities, radically changing the professional world. At Beachborough, we want to prepare our children to follow those paths, to be able to take advantage of the possibilities they offer. This is where our impressive new TED suite comes in. This state-of-the-art facility has everything pupils need to learn crucial skills in Technology, Engineering and Design, broadening their education in the most relevant and practical way possible.
TED lessons combine maths, science and IT, with creativity, art and design; teaching children programming, coding and how to use cutting-edge design software. They learn how to create and engineer their designs using 3-D printing, robotics and laser-cutting, combined with more traditional building techniques. They study the history of design and how technological developments are changing product creation and manufacture while thinking about the processes of packaging design, graphics, product development and marketing – providing them with a wide range of skills that are directly applicable to the real world.
The suite has been cleverly designed with a spacious, main workshop space for practical work, an entrance hall that will be used as an exhibition space, two computing labs and various auxiliary storage spaces for equipment and materials. This allows for whole classes to use the suite at once, while enabling them to work individually or small groups on different projects and stages of a process.
Starting in Form III, we introduce children to the environment of the TED suite, showing them how to construct simple mechanisms and use the equipment safely. As they progress up the school, their knowledge and skills accumulate, enabling them to take on more ambitious projects. They explore phenomena like hydraulics, pneumatics and aerodynamics, creating machines - boats, catapults and lighthouses for example – that they designed on the computers. In Forms VII and VIII, the amount of time pupils spend studying TED each week doubles to two hours. The subject becomes more demanding and increasingly cross-curricular, enabling the children to embark on a diverse range of projects using robotics, vacuum forming, 3d printers and CNC milling.
The TED suite is open at certain break times so that children can come and either carry on with projects begun in class, or new ones. There is also a weekly Tech Club after school for children to further develop their skills and passion. We also have a Goblin Car Club for children in Forms V and VI to build their own car that they then race against other schools. We are in the process of setting up our own Goblin event which will be run at Silverstone. The new TED suite enables us to develop pupils’ confidence in solving practical problems within a real-life context and encourage an enterprising attitude. We equip our children to look forward to the future with creativity and innovation that will provide a sound basis for future study in Design and Technology.
As part of our ambitious plans for introducing TED as a new subject, we are organising partnerships with local engineering businesses and the University of Buckingham, along with a program of speakers to inspire and engage the children with the possibilities of careers in the technology industry. We are also developing new opportunities for pupils to take Design and Technology scholarships at senior schools.