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Oakham School scoops top accolade for Covid-19 face shields at DATA Excellence Awards

Oakham School is celebrating a new accolade after its Design and Technology Department received a prestigious award for its work during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Head of Design and Technology Tim Weston was presented with the DATA Excellence ‘Onshape Special Award’ for Recognising Design and Technology’s Social Impact during a ceremony at The Institution of Engineering Technology in London.

Tim and his team were commended for creating more than 30,000 face shields for key workers during the first 2020 lockdown.

The award comes as part of a collaborative effort from a large team, including Design and Technology staff members at Oakham School who started production and the teachers from other departments who helped with assembling the face shields and delivering them. Support staff, Friends and family of school employees also became involved, dedicating their free time to help support the mission.

As the School became more aware of the lack of PPE from March 2020, it collaborated with local manufacturers, Rutland Plastics, to further increase production. Based in Oakham and run by Old Oakhamians, Rutland Plastics have over 60 years’ experience of custom injection moulding. Stationery company Fellowes also donated visor material to support the initiative.

Tim said: “I’m incredibly proud to have received this award on behalf of the School and it has been a real honour to have contributed, as a large team, to our key workers in a time of uncertainty. The way the community pulled together at such an essential time was really fantastic to witness and having other departments giving up their free time to help was so humbling.”

“The D&T community have really shown a united front in the face of the pandemic and it’s fantastic to be a part of this.”

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in the process of creating the face shields for their outstanding support and I couldn’t have done any of this without them. This also wouldn’t have been possible without the very generous donations we received through fundraising during the project as this really helped us to move things forward.”

The masks were initially delivered to local care homes and hospitals in need of PPE close to Oakham and surrounding areas but were soon supplied to hospitals as far away as Newcastle and Kent, due to demand.

The team created the face shields from late March to early May of 2020, only stopping when the government confirmed it had the resources to provide PPE.

Tony Ryan, Chief Executive of the Design & Technology Association, said: “At the Association we did not want to let the opportunity pass to formally recognise the positive impact that Oakham School and many other D&T departments across the country made by stepping up and producing PPE in a time of crisis. In doing so we made a statement about the value of the subject that did not go unnoticed.”

Henry Price, Headmaster at Oakham School, said: “During such a unique period for us all, I am very proud of the initiative and team effort shown by so many of the school community in creating these vital face shields for key workers.”

“It was humbling to witness the collaborative effort of staff, parents, pupils and Rutland Plastics, working together to play our part at such an important time.”

Tim Weston has previously celebrated success in D&T by winning a Teacher Training Design and Technology Award in 2017, and an IED Prize in 2006 for Outstanding Contribution to Post 16 Design and Technology Education. Find out more about Design and Technology at Oakham School.

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