Design, Technology and Engineering
The Design, Technology and Engineering department offers an invigorating, challenging and high quality technological and design based experience. It aims to provide lessons of interest and relevance such that pupils may be motivated to complete projects to a high standard with an emphasis on the production of functional, useful and beautiful products.
The department is housed in the outstanding Vere Hodge building, a purpose built complex which draws together the design and technology, art, drama and computing divisions of the school. The excellent facilities encourage boys to engage with their project work and to achieve the most impressive results. Beyond this, the department is dedicated to ensuring Tonbridgians appreciate the importance of design, technology, and engineering in their surroundings and that they appreciate the value of aesthetics in the context of industrial design.
Design and Technology as a National Curriculum subject is seeing important developments with the emergence of new specifications at A level and GCSE. Boys are expected to have significant knowledge of the new technologies regardless of their technology specialism. They are also expected to gain skill in and understand the more traditional strands of engineering and design.
The department has kept pace with such initiatives by adopting new courses and investing in advanced manufacturing. The department has a 26 station computer suite, where boys can use the very latest software for Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture, and a range of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) and rapid prototyping machines where boys can see their designs being manufactured. We believe we are the only school technology department in the country to have acquired an industrial robot arm, and this, in its own purpose-built work-cell, is being developed for use with A level technologists and as part of our Robotics Society.
Over the past few years the department has established links with several overseas schools and colleges, including in Norway, Sweden, and the US. One of the most recent and exciting projects is a link-up with Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Atlanta, US, which has resulted in a number of residential trips for students and staff. To further this link we now annually recruit a SCAD graduate to come and spend the Michaelmas and Lent terms working within the DTE department.
This is for a group of up to 8 students who can meet to work on a number of robotics based challenges. Challenges include designing and building robot vehicles to take part in the annual Robot Wars competition at the University of Greenwich, and in the national ‘Antweight’ robot combat contest. More advanced and able programmers will also get the opportunity to control the in-house FANUC robot arm – getting it to complete a range of different tasks within its custom built work cell.
Design Technology & Engineering - Robot arm in action
The department has launched a new automotive engineering club that allows students to work on the design and build of an electric vehicle. The end goal is that the completed vehicle will be raced against other schools from across the country in the national Greenpower challenge.