Monday, July 2, 2012

The Month of June

If May was the month for giving presentations (Buckinghamshire New University, Rycotewood Centre, Oxford and Rotary Club Henley-on-Thames) then June was the month for judging and presenting awards!

On 18 June I accompanied one of my clients to co- judge the Best in the Show at the National School of Furniture, (Rycotewood Furniture Centre), Oxford. This client annually awards a £1000 prize, called the Hellen Award in memory of his wife, as well as a few smaller monetary prizes given as encouragement. The students' range of work was very impressive so selecting a worthy winner was a bit of a struggle; fortunately we had  Joe Bray, the course leader, to give us some background information, which helped.

I have been helping Design and Technology GCSE pupils and their teacher Sean Murray at Langtree School, Woodcote with a design project to stimulate their understanding of design and sustainability issues. This project was inspired  by a donation from one of my clients, in memory of a loved one, who wanted school children to have an insight into the world of the designer- maker. Certificates of excellence and cash prizes were awarded to four pupils at the school Art and Design exhibition, Thursday 21st June. It was encouraging that the most outstanding pupil was a young woman, Sophie. There were also enough funds to buy some new equipment for the school, including a Festool "Domino" ( it makes tenon joints), sash cramps and various tools. The company Festool generously gave a 50% discount, worth £450, which made the purchase possible; this was thanks to Nick Gibbs, Editor of British Woodworking, who put in a good word.
I will be continuing my involvement with the School next year; I think I've learned more from the experience than the pupils! Teaching this subject, at this level, is very challenging; Sean does an excellent job against the odds.

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