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'Making lab' opens up new possibilities at FHS

Bristol academy wins £35k grant for lab where students can create 'almost anything'

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 22, 2016 | Technology

Students at Fairfield High School will soon be literally at the cutting edge of digital technology. The secondary school in Horfield, Bristol, has won a £35,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation to install a Making Lab, where students can create ‘almost anything’.  

For the first time, they will be able to design products on computers and then build them using digital fabrication technology. There will be a particular emphasis on robots and electronic devices. The new design studio and lab, which will be ready for use in September, opens up many possibilities for further development of GCSE courses in engineering, computer science, science, fine art, graphics and photography.  

Local primary schools will also be able to benefit from the improved facilities and it is hoped that in time the project might be upgraded to a ‘Fab Lab’, a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication.  

Assistant Principal Vanetta Spence said the introduction of the CAD/CAM (computer aided design/computer aided technology) technology and the digitally controlled machines and tools was very exciting for the school.  

“Up to now, our engineering students have been able to design products but not see them through to fabrication,” she said. 

“This also allows us to take computer science out of the abstract. Students can use their coding expertise to create simple robotic systems right down to the circuit boards.  We believe the lab will attract more students on to these courses, giving them a competitive edge when seeking apprenticeships, further and higher education and jobs. It will put us at the forefront of digital fabrication in schools.”

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