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On Friday 27th September, the DTE department hosted an event for the award of the Design and Technology Mark from the Design and Technology Association (DATA), after a year of gathering and submitting evidence to satisfy the requirements.

The D&T Mark is a quality mark which is intended as an aspirational badge awarded to secondary departments that demonstrates excellence in Design and Technology teaching and learning. It is awarded to schools who can demonstrate they fully meet all the descriptors in the Self-Review Framework (SRF).

Andy Thomson, the director of DTE, gave an opening speech detailing the journey the department has been over the last few years and vision for the future, and extended thank you messages to a small gathering of staff members, current and ex-students, and parents. He also presented a VEX trophy to Arav Raja for his team’s performance at the International VEX Championships and then handed over to current student Vivika and ex-student, now entrepreneur, Charlie Bruce who both spoke eloquently about their experience of the DTE department, the mentorship and encouragement they received from the staff, and what impact this all has had on their aspirations and career so far.

Here’s an extract from Vivika’s speech where she elaborated on the educational highlights of her experience studying DTE at Highgate:

“In the department, there is an underlying friendly banter and witty sarcasm which creates an exciting and comfortable vibe. You’re not just there to be spoken to and taught, but to have discussions, bounce ideas off each other and tinker with things in the workshop. The DTE staff really creates an environment where you learn through doing, and they are always finding fun ways to engage students in STEM.

But talking about my experience with DTE would be incomplete without mentioning Mr Thompson. He has in many ways been a mentor to me, encouraging me to enter competitions such as the MTA award and apply for scholarships that I wouldn’t have known about let alone think I was capable of achieving. His contagious enthusiasm, his way of communicating through sound effects and gestures is always something to look forward to.

Last year was Highgate’s record for the number of Arkwright engineering scholarships awarded, so the DTE department is clearly doing something right, that or – we were just a brilliant batch. The department has not only been represented nationally but also internationally through vex robotics in the US and now in Taiwan for the ‘International Youth Forum on Environmental Sustainability’ in Taipei – which I am so excited to be a part of.”

Tony Ryan, CEO of DATA, reiterated the importance of Design Technology as a subject where maths and science are put into practice to solve problems, and how it helps develop students as future STEM practitioners and/or discerning consumers at the very least. He unveiled the plaque in the Mills Centre reception to commemorate the award of the Design & Technology Mark via an over-engineered pneumatic system typifying what we do in DTE.

Mr Pettitt, our Head, concluded the speeches with an appreciation of the hard work, drive and passion shown by the DTE department in achieving this award of recognition from DATA. Mingling ensued over a few snacks and refreshments, and good time was had by all.