The textile technology department at the King John School is an exciting department where students are able to come and work in their free time as well as lessons. There are revisions sessions to support GCSE and A level students in the run-up to examinations and weekly practical support sessions for students who wish to improve their practical work or extend their practical skills further throughout the year. There is a very full Key stage 3 club that runs once a week after school with a different project each term to develop students skills further to prepare them for the GCSE and for them to develop their own unique design style. The students can also take time in their lunch breaks to read the current design magazines on offer to stay up to date with current trends and the fast paced changes occurring all the time in the fashion and textile industry; this is looked at in more detail on “Industry day”.
Key stage 3
During years 7 and 8 our students complete two projects. In year 7 the focus is on becoming confident in their use of the sewing machines producing a tie and dye cushion cover with their own personal design printed onto the front panel. Our students learn about fibres and how textiles are produced alongside health and safety rules and how to design a product in response to a design brief. This is continued into year 8 where students make an “Ugly Doll” out of recycled fabrics with a focus for the term on recycling and the environmental impact of the textiles industry. The students learn how to produce a flow chart and how to draw their own paper patterns. Our students really enjoy creating their own unique characters and focus on key skills such as applying a button and using the machine to apply surface decoration; a process called appliqué.
Key stage 4
Our students start their GCSE in year 9. This allows us to build on their skills and knowledge from year 7 and 8. We produce many projects throughout year 9 and 10 to enable students to be prepared for the work that they complete for their controlled assessment project which is 60% of their final grade. The focus of all of the projects is to cover the key topics of the written exam paper which contributes to 40% of the student’s final grade. This work is covered through practical and theory lessons. Students are encouraged to develop their own design style while being taught how to develop their design ideas, fabric choices, pattern drawing skills and manufacturing skills which includes a variety of fastenings and surface decoration techniques. They do this through projects such as “the skill bag”, “pyjama trousers”, CAD/CAM fabric design and production, “The little black dress or waistcoat project” and “A recycling master class”.
Key stage 5
The AS course that is provided for our 6th form students is a product design course that allows students to build on their skills from the GCSE course and give them an opportunity to take these skills on to higher education. The students complete a number of smaller design tasks and focus on different areas of the controlled assessment in different projects; taking their best work from each task forward to their final assessment folder which gives them 50% of their final grade. The other 50% is made up by the written exam paper. The students are encouraged to become individual in their design style and their pattern making skills are stretched by their more challenging design choices. Their manufacturing skills are developed to a high level with more complex production skills being taught throughout the course.
“Of course I make mistakes, I’m human. If I didn’t make mistakes, I’d never learn. You can only go forwards by making mistakes.” Alexander McQueen