Co-curricular activities at Shiplake College are always popular; pupils enjoy a wide range of different challenges in a variety of subjects. A recent addition to the myriad of options has been from the Design and Technology department: mechanics club is now up and running. Open to those who are interested in the subject as well as those studying it from across the year groups, the club has proved a popular choice, and the work undertaken is ever-more daring.
Run by Head of Design and Technology Mr Alex Hunt, the club works on a range of projects, deciding between the pupils what to create and then taking it upon themselves to source materials for the difficult and bold tasks. Pupil Jordan Scott-Ely, a key member of the club, has kindly donated a vehicle in need of plenty of TLC! The boys will be stripping down and carefully restoring the car, concentrating on bodywork as well as renovating and repairing the engine.
The Shiplake pupils will learn, along the way, about the inner workings of motors and gearboxes, as well as how the electrical system of the vehicle operate. The pupils are, of course, eagerly looking forward to having a ride in the car once they have completed all of the hard work (and once the car has passed a risk assessment!). It is incredibly exciting; with stricter restraints on what to build and create when doing the subject in academic time, having the freedom to create inventive and novel items, provides a breath of fresh air for the pupils, as well as adding to the general understanding of manufacturing.
And this exciting project is not the only thing on the agenda for the mechanics; a group of older pupils are currently building a tandem bike! Having sourced a variety of scrap bikes, the team will be utilising a number of skills learned and developed in Design and Technology, but with the freedom to build something innovative, outside the constraints of the syllabus. This is the perfect opportunity to experiment and work collaboratively, learning more as the weeks progress and finishing the club having made a unique piece.
Mr Hunt commented that ‘the students have really thrown themselves into these projects, deciding as a group what to create and how they’ll go about doing it. You can see in class that the extra time spent doing something different is aiding their understanding when using different machines, and employing different techniques. I’m really looking forward to seeing the end products!’