A Level Design at Longslade School

John A. Smith
1978, Vol. 11, No. 1,


Longslade School, a Leicestershire plan Upper School, was one of the pilot schools involved in the development of the Oxford A83 Design syllabus. Having been familiar with the course since its inception, and being directly involved in teaching the syllabus for the past three years, I should like to express some ideas involving the teaching aspects of this course. I hope that these will not only be of interest to the reader but that they will also be useful, both from the practical teaching point of view, (I use practical here in the sense of the practice of teaching and not 'practical' subjects), and from the point of deciding how valid the course might be.

In fairness, I must point out that my own attitude is very much in favour of this examination. In its present format I believe it to be an excellent syllabus and, with a few minor aspects which are discussed later, one which would be difficult to improve upon.

The organisation of such a course can cause problems, and staffing will depend on the numbers involved. At Longslade the average number of students in each year appears to have settled down to 6 or 7 and, therefore, first and second year sixth are taught together to make a viable teaching unit. However, since there are times when it is necessary to teach each group separately, a second member of staff is available for part of the time to allow the groups to be split. This second member of staff covers the ceramic element of the course, both practical and theoretical. For my part I cover the practical elements of wood, metal and plastics, and the theory elements of wood, plastics, and general design philosophy.

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