A Derby Grammar School student is celebrating after achieving an A in Design Technology, an A in Physics and a B in Maths.

Paul Phipps, 18, of Uttoxeter, developed a smart garden lighting system which will work from dusk onwards and be activated on a motion sensor.

Paul worked with his uncle, Andy Phipps, who now works for Airbus but previously worked for Surrey Sound and Lights.

He worked on the aesthetics of the project with an ex-Derby Grammar School student, Mark Mitchell. Mark is at Brunel University and is currently studying in China. For his A-level DT project he designed a bird box which was ultimately sold through John Lewis.

Paul said: “My uncle talked to me about designing solar powered garden lights that could be switched off, so that they are not on all the time throughout the night. I used a coding kit to solve the problem and it was great working with Mark on the way the light looked, he was really helpful. He gave me a design brief and he wanted it to be in the style of the designer Tom Dixon. He said my product had a really good design story. I based it on the idea of liquid rather than solid and I started thinking about lava and how volcanoes were shaped.”

Mark said that Paul had created a lamp which far exceeded expectations for a Sixth Form student.

He said: “He has proven his creative flare with a lamp design that isn’t just beautiful, but inspires with an enchanting story. Attention to detail such as manufacturability and optimisation of solar panel layout, show that Paul is capable of not just producing a bespoke artisan lamp but something which could be mass produced and work reliably in its usage environment. If I was working at Tom Dixon studio, I’d certainly consider giving you a week-long internship.”

Paul is off to study Physics at the University of Liverpool.

Paul Lakritz who is Head of DT and Assistant Head – Academic at Derby Grammar School, said: “The initial design problem identified by Paul initially seemed to be limited in creative opportunities. However, Paul developed the initial brief by exploring the limitations and possibilities of the existing market for a garden light, a creative opportunity for a stylish and intelligent light system was identified.

As with all stylish products, success is achieved through rigorous experimentation and determined pursuit for the desired outcome which Paul carried out in an uncompromising manner. Paul has created a wonderful design project encompassing a stylish aesthetic with technical functionality. ”