Design & Technology

Our Philosophy

Design and Technology (DT) is a rigorous, multi-disciplinary subject.  Pupils are challenged to combine academic and creative thinking with practical skills to design and manufacture inspired and inspirational products.  By understanding the Design Process, pupils solve real problems, considering not only their own needs but the wants and values of others. At Charterhouse, DT is a contemporary subject and pupils experience it in the context of a rapidly-evolving society of consumption.  This education gives them critical understanding about sustainability and how cleverly designed products can improve people’s daily life. 

Pupils studying DT are encouraged to be innovative designers who quickly learn both to recognise popular trends and be ambitious, defining what’s new and fresh on their own terms.  We promote the development of ‘wildly imaginative thinking’ and pupils are discouraged from being safe or predictable in their design work.  This focus on taking controlled risks and developing originality is central to the Department’s ethos.

Pupils are taught to appreciate design history as well as contemporary practice and to build upon these influences when developing their own work. Guest speakers are invited to the school to talk on a range of design and engineering issues and regular trips are organised both within the UK and abroad.

To ensure clarity of communication in the design process, pupils are well taught in drawing techniques, model-making and the use of CAD software for 3D printing.   All pupils studying DT are able to use one or a combination of these techniques to clearly express their ideas.   

Pupils can manufacture their idea using a wide range of materials and processes in the workshop area of the John Derry Technology Centre (JDTC). Carthusians benefit from having access to some extremely powerful CAD/CAM facilities such as large-bed CNC laser and plasma cutters which can manufacture components in minute detail.

We run a Product Design course at A-level using Edexcel’s Art and Design specification (3D design). This is a very flexible course allowing pupils to explore a greater diversity of design disciplines.  Popular design areas of study are: product/vehicle/aeronautical/furniture design and architecture. Some pupils however choose DT purely out of interest or to complement other subjects. 

Design and Technology at Charterhouse has two full time teachers: Head of Department- Mr Tom  Aberneithie who is a practicing artist and Mrs Naomi Sutton who is an architecture graduate. The JDTC additionally has a dedicated full-time technician, Mr Martyn Humphreys and is open to all pupils until late in the afternoon, including Saturdays.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.

Mr Tom Aberneithie, BA - Head of Department

Mr Aberneithie graduated in 1993 with a Distinction in Drawing and Painting from a BA (Fine Art) degree at La Trobe UCNV, Australia. In subsequent years he has read History of Art at Birkbeck College London, exhibited as an independent artist and worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2003 he completed a PGCE at Goldsmiths University and specialises in the teaching of Graphics. Areas of particular interest include Northern Renaissance art, Russian Constructivism and the genesis of ‘Modernism’. Mr Aberneithie joined Charterhouse as Head of Department in 2010. Outside his subject he enjoys the writing of Charles Bukowski and finds inspiration in the guitar music of John Fahey.

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