Tollbar Academy is a mainstream, state funded senior school in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. The school is mixed and serves over 2000 pupils aged between 11 – 18.

Tollbar promotes the ethos and values of providing a range of educational experiences appropriate to the age, ability and needs of their students, relating to industrial processes and practices and enhancing students’ quality of learning through effective delivery of the Resistant Materials and Textiles technologies.

‘We are constantly developing, providing outstanding education and resources and a personalised curriculum for every individual. All students, whatever their ability, are supported both academically and pastorally so they each achieve their full potential.’

The schools Technology Curriculum Area is well organised, forward-thinking and practically based. The Technology Department is an Educational Hub and offers students the opportunity to further develop their understanding of the design industry from hands-on interaction with modern processes (i.e. 3D printing, laser cutting, thermo printing and computer aided embroidery) and materials (i.e. neoprene, polymorph).

The Technology Department prepare their students for participation in tomorrow’s rapidly developing world of technologies, providing the necessary equipment to develop individual and team skills in order to gain confidence in their own abilities and become creative problem solvers.

Through working with CAD/CAM and other industrial based processes in the Educational Hub, students improve in all areas of practical, spoken, and written communication skills, whilst practising their skills in research, communication and management in design and production and developing an understanding of aesthetics, social, moral and environmental issues.

Tollbar Academy currently has 4 workshops equipped for multi-media design and/or construction work with resistant materials. Across the workshops there is the capability to apply traditional and modern processes. The resources are always being reviewed and updated – with purchases such as Ultimaker 3D printers, heat press and sublimation printing being added more recently to the facilities.

The Academy also has a dedicated CAD/CAM centre, which gives access to Laser cutting and specialist CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines used for processes as turning, milling and routing. Further to this, a dedicated computer suite houses a total of 25 multi-media PCs and other audio-visual equipment including a number of 3D printers.

To support students’ learning and engagement in the theoretical side of the curriculum, Tollbar have a dedicated theory classroom which provides a comfortable and focused learning environment. (This room also plays host to a second laser cutter and a bank of computers).

Tollbar Academy’s Technology Department offers a range of courses for Key stage 4 pupils in years 9, 10 and 11. The options for further study include:

  • GCSE Design & Technology (band 5+6 pupils)
  • Technical Award: Materials Technology (band 3+4 pupils)
  • Technical Award: Fashion & Textiles (band 3+4 pupils).

All 3 courses provide opportunities for candidates to develop an awareness of the nature and significant importance of Design and Technology in a rapidly changing society. The various courses offer students the chance to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of materials, processes and construction techniques of textiles and resistant materials within an overall ‘design and make’ approach. Across the courses candidates can expect to experience the latest CAD/CAM facilities (laser cutting and 3D printing) along with other modern manufacturing techniques.

(Technical Awards are the equivalent to a single GCSE and are intended to offer students an alternative way to access their learning by being more practical in nature).

Outside of the classroom, students can further their skills during the lunch break and after school with the range of fun activities from 3D printing, metal turning to textiles and design clubs offered in the Hub.

One of the many benefits of having an Educational Hub for 3D printing in the school is the experience and opportunities it offers students for the future. The wide range of facilities available provides a solid foundation of design appreciation which can be developed into industrial, fashion, interior and product design or any of the engineering fields. Other advantages include:

  • Provides technical and employability skills, knowledge and understanding which are transferable and will enable individuals to meet changing circumstances, whether these arise from a shift in their own status or in employment;
  • Provides a good progression route to more advanced qualifications in Further Education and Higher Education;
  • Provides opportunities for students who may wish to be employed in apprenticeships or work-based learning environments;
  • Helps students to think and function independently and to become financially capable.