15 minutes to protect D&T, breaking down stereotypes about Product Design, transition activity & useful quick links

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There are lots of degree shows happening at the moment with lots of inspirational and creative work being showcased. These shows are a good guide to the types of things we need to be thinking about when planning our own courses at KS3, 4 and 5 as it is up to us to prepare students for these next steps. This includes developing the types of skills students will need, as well as raising their awareness of the types of opportunities that are out there at degree level. 

Whilst the traditional degrees subjects continue to exist, and material specific courses are just as valid, it is interesting to see how the Product Design course is developing, and how the new single qualification GCSE is reflecting this. To illustrate this, in this week’s blog there is a focus on the Product Design qualification at Nottingham Trent University (only chosen because it is my local uni) where the work is a good example of the blurring of lines on the use of materials on a Product Design course.

If you are interested in seeing other degree work from NTU take a look at the post on my Facebook page last week about the Textile Design degree show

Free Resources 


Quick activities with a free photo & thinking point. 

Nail file 6039

#ThinkDo #Rethink Rethinking the design of the traditional nail file. What would you redesign?

Click on the image to see a larger version. Free download image to use in your classroom. 

Find out more about #ThinkDo activities & see ones posted on Instagram & Facebook

Did you see my Facebook page this week?

This week’s Facebook updates have included: 

Degree show

Click on the links below to see more: 

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

17th June - Inspiring Learning event, London

17th - 19th June - Tate Modern building reopens with a range of activities planned

11th - 24th June -  DesignEd exhibition at Sheffield Hallam University

24th June - Leeds for Learning Design & Technology Conference, York

23rd June - National Women in Engineering Day

1st & 2nd July - Technical Textiles: Smart & Modern Materials course, York (with Enthuse Bursary to cover the cost of fees & accommodation)

Curriculum Updates

15 Minutes to Protect D&T

Michelle Donelan MP is campaigning to include the new Design and Technology GCSE within the English Baccalaureate and this is being supported by The D&T Association, the James Dyson Foundation, the Royal Academy of Engineering and a host of business organisations. As part of this campaign Michelle is intending to send a letter to the Prime Minister, co-signed by as many MPs as possible, outlining why this needs to happen. You can help by writing/emailing your local MP, explaining why this is an important issue, and asking them to sign Michelle’s letter. There is a copy of a template letter you can use on The D&T Association's website along with a copy of the letter Michelle intends to send, as well as information on who your local MP is. It's important we all do our little bit to support our subject and if you use the template letter this won’t take long. It’s easy to say that we can’t make a difference but that shouldn’t stop us from trying and together we are a stronger voice. 

Breaking Down Stereotypes About Product Design

I hear a lot of people talking about Product Design in a way that excludes graphics and textiles. The recent graduate show at Nottingham Trent University, which is my local uni, demonstrated that Product Design is as inclusive of graphics and textiles as it is of any other materials (the images below are from the Product Design degree). 


In particular textiles had a particularly high profile with a large number of products using textiles, including the production of garments. In their notes about their work students commented that their focus was on user needs and solving problems in the material that was the most relevant. This type of thinking is something that is a big focus for the new single GCSE qualification. The images below show some of the textiles work showcased as part of the Product Design degree. Click here to see more images along with images of textiles used as part of the Furniture Design degree show.

Product Design

The Graphic Design degree work also included a variety of outcomes in different media, including textiles, and the images below are from this course. 


The message here is that a Product Design course is not just about the use of woods, metals and plastics and that in a modern world there is a greater blurring of the lines between material areas and their uses. This was also emphasised by how some materials were used in a very different way, for example a chair on the Furniture Design course by Isaac Hughes called The Cotton Chair. This was made from fibres extracted from old clothes which had been combined with a bio resin to create a new material. This plastic material was then supported by a metal frame to create a stackable chair. 

the cotton chair

It is important that students understand the variety of courses and opportunities at degree level (and beyond) no matter what their preferred material area. Students should be encouraged to consider both traditional degree courses related to their material area as well as being aware of what else might be available. 

If you are looking for ideas for the new GCSE, including how all material areas in D&T can play a high profile role whilst still retaining their individual character, take a look at courses  coming up including one on textiles in the new GCSE on 13th July, one on D&T for all material areas at the STEM Centre in December (including an bursary to pay for the fees) as well as the new GCSE being the focus for The Textiles Teacher Roadshow this year. 

Resources To Support Lesson Planning

Transition Activities

If you are planning any transition activities for textiles lessons for the end of term, whether it be for year 6 students going into year 7, year 11 going into year 12, or any other year group, why not use my competition brief as the focus? If you don’t have time for students to make a product it could just be used as a design activity.  There are lots of resources on the website. If you do enter any work your department could win a £300 sewing machine or one of the runner up prizes. Closing date 1st August 2016.

Useful Quick Links

Course Updates

Click on the links to find out more or click here to see the full calendar

Inspiring Learning - 17th June, London
I will be running a one hour workshop with a focus on technical textiles at this event (note this link takes you to the organiser’s website)

Leeds Design & Technology Conference (Leeds schools), 24th June, STEM Centre, York (note the link takes you to the organiser’s website)
We will be delivering one hour workshops on the new GCSE, technical textiles & Crumble 

Technical Textiles: Using Smart & Modern Materials in Your Classroom - 1st & 2nd July 2016 (2 day course), STEM Centre, York
(note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website). 
State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award. Click here to see photos from the course

Promoting Creativity, Imagination & Independence: Outstanding T&L in D&T (including info on the new GCSE) (this course is delivered by Paul & Julie Boyd on behalf of Keynote Educational)
5th July, London 
9th November, London

Outstanding T&L in AQA A Level Product Design Textiles
This course is delivered on behalf of Keynote Educational
6th July, London
10th November, London

Textiles Technician Course: A Basic Introduction to Servicing and Maintaining Sewing Machines NEW 13th July, Coles Sewing Centre, Nottingham (note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website but it is held in Nottingham). State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award.

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification
13th July, Nottingham NEW

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow, 8th Oct, Nottingham NEW
New content for the new academic year with a focus on the place of textiles in the new GCSE 

Preparing to Teach the New D&T GCSE 9th & 10th December (2 day course), STEM Centre, York (note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website). State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award.

Why not build attending a course into your Performance Review? 
Dates or venue not suitable or type of course you want not available? Additional courses can be added to the course calendar at your request at no additional cost to you. Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk for more details. 

To receive this blog via email each week email julie@julieboyd.co.uk 

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook for lots of ideas & activities in between blogs

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