In Design Technology Year 7 pupils have taken part in the annual South West Secondary Engineer Leaders Award Competition. As part of the Leaders Award pupils were asked to answer the question ‘If you were an engineer what would you do?’ Pupils had to draw a design to solve a problem within their home, local community or the wider world. Once complete, they had to write a ‘pitch letter’ to explain how their product idea would function. From 2017-2020 the department has networked with University of the West of England, businesses and engineers from industry (WSP Global Ltd, Next Generation Data, Airbus, KIER and HOARE LEA) to support pupils learning of engineering and careers within the sector. This has provided pupils with lots of opportunities to ask career related questions, learn skills linked to engineering through participation of engineering challenges and developed their communication skills by sharing/presenting ideas in the form of a ‘design review’ to gain feedback from industry professionals. The competition has had a positive effect on pupils by developing their confidence in engaging and communicating with engineers to discuss their ideas and identify ways in which it they could be developed before formulating their final idea. By the end of the competition pupil’s knowledge and understanding of engineering had vastly improved. In June 2018 and 2019 a pupil from Hugh Sexey won the Year 7 category overall and their work was displayed in an exhibition at the University of the West of England. One pupil also had a prototype made of her final design the ‘RLBS (Red Line Breaking System)’. Over the course of a year a team of engineers from the university worked with this pupil to bring her design concept to realisation. The prototype worked by displaying red lights along the back windscreen of a vehicle to alert other drivers of the severity of breaking and levels of attention needed. This would help to reduce fatalities on our roads. During the build, the engineers visited pupils at HSMS where they learnt about the job role of an engineer and the different types of Engineering e.g. mechanical, electrical and robotics. Pupils were given the opportunity to work on an engineering challenge where they were required to work in small teams as Software and Electrical Engineers to programme a microchip to light up multiple LEDs. The engineers spent time showcasing the stages of building the prototype. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves and found it to be challenging as they learnt how to work as an engineer whilst developing problem-solving and teamwork skills. Many of the pupils that have taken part in the competition have then gone on to study GCSE Design and Technology.
2017-18 – 13 pupils participated – 3 pupils awarded distinction, 5 pupils awarded merit, 4 pupils awarded pass and 1 pupil awarded overall winner in the Year 7 category.
2018-19 – 14 pupils participated – 5 pupils award distinction, 7 pupils awarded merit, 1 pupil awarded judges highly commended and 1 awarded overall winner in the Year 7 category.
2019-20 – 20 pupils participated – 2 pupils awarded distinction and 18 pupils awarded merit.