All pupils in the Prep School study Design and Technology as an academic subject. In the Junior years (Years 3-5), the emphasis is on learning practical skills and finding out how to go through the process of designing.
We build many exciting projects including land yachts, clocks, money-boxes, marble runs and many more. Pupils will learn how to use a range of tools and machinery in a safe environment, they will use a range of different materials and all the knowledge and practice builds an excellent foundation for moving up the school.
In the Senior years (Year 6 to 8), all pupils are stretched in the subject. Often reacting to Design Briefs, there is far more emphasis on creating individual designs, along with experimentation of ideas. Pupils are primarily given either problem-solving exercises, such as Model Bridge building or skills-based projects which deliver targeted skills, such as use of electronics, use of our laser cutter / CAD software or perhaps dipping a toe into the world of Destruction testing!
Year 7 are currently approaching the subject as ‘STEAM’, following a bespoke programme, pupils are blending the learning of Physics and Design Technology. With emphasis on being ‘Green’, pupils are covering key scientific topics, including energy, sound, forces and electronics. Projects currently being built include wind turbines, amplifiers, eco-houses and even a lesson leaping from the school’s high ropes tower to learn about energy transfers! Finally, pupils are completing work for the nationally recognised Bronze level CREST awards as part of their STEAM lessons.
The school regularly competes in the Greenpower Racing competitions and events in the G2 Goblin Go Kart Class with Year 6 pupils.
- THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS A REPORT FROM THE 2023 EVENT HELD AT SCOTTOW, NORFOLK
GPS Greenpower Goblin Go Kart Race Team Trip to Scottow 2023
Scottow was again the venue this year for the annual Greenpower Goblin Go Kart Race event being held in Norfolk, with Gresham’s Prep School putting forward their team (selected from year 6 pupils) for a second consecutive year.
William R and Hannah C were our designated drivers after qualifying as the fastest boy and girl in the year group. The drivers were backed up by a four pupil strong “pit crew” comprised of Edward B, Tilly C, Ignacio H and Paddy C. Finally, Eric F and Hollie S were assigned the task of managing the team.
Mr Stephenson, Mr Matthews and Mr Steed made up the very enthusiastic staff contingent and a number of parents lent their support trackside from behind the safety barriers.
This year the GPS race team started off with a big breakfast after Mr Hobbart and the kitchen staff accommodated an early start and offered the boys and girls the best of starts in the dining hall. Many thanks, it was a great way to start the day and the individual packed lunches were also top notch.
The day started with a Greenpower safety briefing and “scrutineering” check which involves each teams kart being meticulously checked over to ensure it stands up to the organisers high safety and operational standards.
Next it was time to test both Kart and driver with the completion of “drag” and “slalom” races (six of each) before the popular final sprint races took place at the end of the day.
The slalom races require the drivers to weave in and out of equally spaced cones and stop in a 3m by 3m coned square in the fastest time. The drag is an out and out speed race where each driver is required to race to the end of the track at top speed before braking hard and stopping before the safety barrier. The drag is also timed but a second car competes against you for a competitive fun element.
The majority of the races were completed by the team’s driving duo with four races also being shared between the four members of the pit crew (who were also stand in replacement drivers).
Gresham’s performed admirably in the drag and Slalom races and William R was selected to drive for the final race, “The Sprint”. Three karts per round raced each other on an oval track to determine the fastest final kart. Gresham’s were drawn in the outside lane for this event but William drove brilliantly to give his team a real chance of progressing. Unfortunately, a pesky safety cone became wedged in the driver’s side wheel during the race ending Gresham’s hopes of winning the event. It was, however, still a very exciting final spectacle and all of the school teams cheered and watched each race to the end in the true spirit of sportsmanship.
The standard of the competition was very high this year with karts from all over the region (in some cases schools attending with multiple karts).
This year the GPS race team were very kindly sponsored by Warren Services a local engineering company owned by Mr Bridgman (Henry B’s father). Gresham’s Year 6 pupils and Warren Services worked closely all term to produce bodywork panels to give the kart a new updated look for year 2.
The bodywork was laser cut from 1mm thick stainless steel to pupils exact specifications and when assembled gave the kart a modern and satisfyingly professional look. Mr Matthews stepped up to add painted WWII fighter plane style tigershark mouth and eyes to complete the look and I’m sure everyone can agree the end result was fantastic. Our sincere thanks to Mr Bridgman and Warren Services for the enthusiasm and support they have injected into the project and we very muck look forward to working closely with them again next year.
I would also like to thank Mr Matthews and Mr Stephenson for their ongoing support of the project throughout the year. As always, Mr Matthews and Mr Stephenson your support is very much appreciated and an essential part of the success of the GPS race team, we could not have done it without you.
I would also like the race team to know how proud we all were of all of them on the day for their commitment, teamwork, positivity, sportsmanship and behaviour all of which were exemplary and you all represented the school in the best possible manner. Thank you all for setting the bar very high in deed and congratulations for being awarded trophies in the following catagories:-
Drag Race – Winners
Slalom Race – Winners
Overall Event 2023 – Winners
Finally, a huge thank you to Vannessa and the Greenpower team and volunteers on the day for putting on such a fantastic and well organised event for the pupils, staff and parents from all of the schools. It was a huge success and thank you for continuing to offer children the opportunity to be involved in such a unique and valuable programme. We will definitely see you again next year.