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Design & Technology

The Design Technology and Engineering department continues to be very popular amongst the pupils.

The department offers a stimulating working environment with a variety of well-resourced areas that encourages pupils to learn through prototyping, experimenting and evaluating.  

At GCSE and A Level pupils have the opportunity to lead projects tailored to their interests to help them develop their understanding of the world of design, manufacturing and engineering. Both GCSE and A-Level courses focus heavily on the sustainability of design and our responsibly to design and live in an ethical manner that does not steal from future generations.


Clare Nugent

Clare Nugent

Teacher of Design & Technology and Computing
BSc(Hons), MEd, PhD

Dr Nugent joined Merchiston in 2013 as Pringle Housemother and part-time teacher of Product Design, later joining the DT&E department full-time. She also teaches Electronics and is a Tutor in the Junior School. Her other responsibilities include assisting with the Golf Academy and the Senior Pipe Band.

Freddie Main

Freddie Main

Head of PSHE; Assistant Head Pupil Support; Teacher of Design & Technology

Mr Main is Head of Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and is a member of the School’s Pupil Support Leadership Team as Assistant Head. He has taught at Merchiston since 2001 and has served as a senior resident tutor, Assistant Housemaster and as Housemaster in Chalmers East. He also served as Head of Design and Technology for nine years, and still teaches the subject. He leads the coaching of the School’s U16A rugby team, having coached many other teams in the School, including the C1s and the 1stXV.

William Ogilvie-Jones

Housemaster of Chalmers West, Teacher of Design & Technology

Mr Ogilvie-Jones is Housemaster of Chalmers West. As well as teaching Design & Technology, he also teaches Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE). He coaches the Schools B3 rugby team as well as athletics.


The department consists of four main teaching areas, the main workshop, a prototyping room, a specialist CAD Lab and a breakout area. We also have a dedicated welding bay in which we do arc and mig and tig welding as well as other forms of heat treatment and dip coating. Each area of the department offers different resources and are utilised depending on the topics being taught.

We offer a range of traditional and modern design manufacturing/prototyping and designing resources. Pupils are encouraged to engage with a range of designing and manufacturing methods to help develop the best solutions to the problems posed. Traditional designing methods include sketching and technical drawing; modern designing techniques include the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages such as Inventor, Fusion, Google SketchUp and 2DTechSoft. Pupils are introduced to CAD in I Form and develop their CAD skills as they progress through to the senior school. Traditional manufacturing methods include laminating, steam bending, wood turning, casting, sheet metal work, milling, metal turning, vacuum forming, line bending, and general cutting, shaping and forming of wood, metal and plastic. More modern methods of manufacturing include use of our laser cutter and our 3D printer. The use of Computer Added Manufacturing (CAM) methods in the department compliments the skills the pupils acquire in both Inventor and 2DTEchSoft as these files can be used to produce working prototypes.



I to III Forms: The courses meet the Curriculum requirements as specified by 4-18 National Guidelines and the English National Curriculum. The aim of the courses is to enable each pupil to gain and develop an understanding and experience of the many aspects of Design and Technology in a creative manner.

The first form project is based on a Tangram project, Tower of Hanoi and an Amplifier project. All of the Junior Schools Projects form strong links with the Pringle Centre to help support the development of literacy and numeracy skills. Junior School projects offer pupils the opportunity to develop a range of designing and manufacturing skills that help prepare them for the GCSE course.

IV Form: The Design and Technology course offered in the Fourth Form comprises two main projects. The first is an electronic buggy which is done in tandem with Electronics and ICT. This project aims to develop a range of skills that help prepare them for GCSE course choices. The second is a sustainable shelter project that exposes the pupils to the ‘wider issues’ in design.

Shell & GCSE: Design and Technology is offered as a GCSE subject. The GCSE course has comprises of a Non Examined Assessment (NEA) and an Exam at the end of the course both comprising of 50% of the marks. The pupils have the option to select one area of expertise in their CGSE course. The content is delivered through a combination of theory lessons to cover the ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ aspect of the subject and ‘Practical Work’ to help develop designing and manufacturing skills. Each pupil also undertakes a personal project in Fifth Form that will both motivate and stretch them.

VI Form: Product Design and Design Engineering are offered at Advanced level and build directly on the work covered at GCSE Design Technology and Electronics. Product Design encourages creative thinking leading to design innovation, by using authentic and contemporary design strategies and techniques that are centred around iterative design processes of ‘explore / create / evaluate’, thus preparing our students to become critical and creative designers, engineers and consumers of the future. Design Engineering is also centred around explore, creative and evaluate but the engineering course has a much higher Maths and Science content and focuses more on topics such as mechanisms, forces and motion, electronics, structural and mechanical efficiency and electronic systems. 


A Morning in the DT Department

Our student-led Medical Society provides opportunities for prospective medics to collaboratively apply their scientific knowledge in a medical context. On average, 7% of our Year 13 students have applied for Medicine at university over the last three years.


Through our close links with the Roslin Institute, IGCSE and A Level pupils also get to experience advanced genetics techniques as well as a wide range of the usual practical work offered within schools. Being able to use the Roslin labs has enabled the department to deliver hands on experiments on subject matter elsewhere only able to be taught theoretically.

Ms Williams Head of Biology

Coming from a state school, science was taught very theoretically. Here at Merchiston, we do so many practicals to reinforce our knowledge. This has given me a totally different view on school in general: every day I wake up and I look forward to my lessons

Vincent B Year 11 (S4)

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