Competition winner announced, Tech Awards draft specs, assessment without levels & lots of free resources 


It has been a busy week this week with the winners of my competition from last term being chosen and plans for the new competition being started. Scroll down for more information on the competition winners. 

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I have also been working on the plans for The Textiles Teacher Roadshow with the first one of the year coming up in a few weeks on 8th October (there are only 12 tickets left for Nottingham but still lots for London on 3rd December). The competition winners will be on display at the Roadshow and as the draft spec for AQA’s Tech Awards has now been released this will now be mentioned along with the D&T GCSE and the role that textiles plays in the new qualification. 

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

16th - 20th Sept - London Fashion Week

17th - 25th Sept - London Design Festival

18th Sept - World’s Largest Lesson focusing on ending poverty, fighting inequality & injustice and fixing climate change

18th Sept - Online support 7-8pm for food teachers on open days 

19th Sept - Online support 7.30pm for food teachers on the Wellcome Foundation The Crunch resource 

8th Oct - The Textiles Teacher Roadshow, Nottingham (ONLY 12 TICKETS LEFT)

Free Resources           Images, ideas & text are copyright of Julie Boyd & can’t be shared, sold or reproduced

#ThinkDo                        Quick activities with a free photo. Find out more

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#ThinkDo Table top designed by Jon Burgerman. Find out more about his work at How would you use his work to inspire you?
Click on the image to see a larger version. Free download image to use in your classroom. 

See regular #ThinkDo activities posted on Instagram & Facebook

Facebook                       Daily updates & resources. Find out more


Click on the links below to see more:

Let’s Learn                  This week’s featured resources. See all resources              


Includes a video, a #ThinkDo activity, some thinking points and useful links

  • The EcoHelmet folding bike helmet that has just won a Dyson award
  • A concertina recycled cardboard stool

Paper Patterns

Suitable for all year groups.

The book is particularly good for encouraging students to create their own patterns for garments without them having to learn complex pattern making techniques. 

  • 2 websites that provide free online paper patterns 
  • A Vogue ‘hack’ pattern with instructions on how to modify a pattern to create a classic ‘Mondrian’ dress (as seen on The Great British Sewing Bee)
  • Book recommendation ‘No Patterns Needed’ which explains how to create paper patterns from rectangles, triangles & circles

Curriculum Updates

AQA Tech Awards


The draft specifications for the AQA Tech Awards were released this week. There are a number of subject areas but the ones most relevant to most of us are Fashion and Textiles, Food and Catering, Materials Technology, Visual Communication. The ones on Health and Social Care might also be of interest to some teachers. Don’t forget that these are currently just the draft versions so they may well change but they are a good starting point to get an idea of what the Tech Awards might be like.  Click here for more information


Want a course on the new GCSE?
The National STEM Learning Centre 9th & 10th December (bursary available that pays the fees if you’re a state school or academy)

Textiles in the new GCSE courses in London and Liverpool

Assessment Without Levels


If you have responsibility for assessment in your department Life After Levels is a new website that you might find useful. Many schools I visit are still using levels in the same way as before, often at the insistence of heads, even though their professional association (NAHT) strongly recommends against this, so the link might also be useful to pass onto your senior leadership. The website is a collaboration between The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and Frog Education and is designed to support schools with the opportunities presented by the removal of levels. There are useful free resources on the website as well as short video guides. 


Winners of my ‘Product in a Tin’ Competition Announced


Huge congratulations to Ann Lenton whose student was the winner of my ‘Product in a Tin’ competition. The standard of entries was excellent and even higher than previous years making the judging very challenging. The competition is unusual in that students have to submit a finished product rather than just design work. It is a real privilege that students share their work with me especially as the logistics mean it is not possible to return any products. 


It is clear from the work that many students put an incredible amount of energy and effort into their entries. As well as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes there are also categories for ‘highly commended’ and ‘merit’ to acknowledge in a small way the work students put in. I know how much a certificate through the post or a photo on a website can mean when you are young and I have had a number of moving emails this week from parents who say what a massive confidence boost it has been for students even if they have only been awarded the lower category awards. Selected entries will be on display at The Textiles Teacher Roadshow (8th October Nottingham and 3rd December London).

Click here to see all prize winners and to find out more about the winning entry

There are some details on the new competition on the website but there are still some bits to finalise and upload so I will cover this in more detail next week. 

Design Ventura

Other Competitions to Look At

Design Ventura - creating a product for sale in the Design Museum shop during sept register (registration deadline is September)

I’m An Engineer Get Me Out of Here - an X Factor style competition between engineers where students are the judges

YFDUK - Young Fashion Designer UK competition 

Alu D&T Challenge - creating sustainable designs using aluminium

Click here for more competitions

Useful Links

Free Copy of ‘D&T for the Next Generation'


There is a free download of ‘D&T for the Next Generation’ on David Bartlex and Torben Steeg’s website. This book was originally published in 2007, so it is quite old, but there is still has some very relevant content in it and it is definitely worth a look. 

Thermochromic Textiles

I have had a number of queries recently about thermochromic textiles products as it would seem you can't get the Babyglow sleep suits anymore that I have shown on a lot of my courses. Top Shop currently have thermochromic ’smiley face' t.shirt on their website although it is very expensive at £28. If you type 'hyper colour' or 'technicolour' into a search engine or into Amazon or Ebay you should come up with some cheaper alternatives. Be sure to read the description as some of the brands use wording to indicate bright bold colours rather than a thermochromic reaction.

Course Updates 

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

Textiles Technicians: Basic Maintenance & Servicing of Sewing Machines Dates coming soon for London, York & Nottingham. Email to be informed when dates are released. Bursary available for state schools & academies which pays the course fee.

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow ONLY 12 TICKETS LEFT
8th Oct, Nottingham  INCLUDES NEW GCSE D&T
(3rd Dec, London also available)
New content for the new academic year: focus on the place of textiles in the new GCSE £42 & INCLUDES FREEBIES!

E-textiles Basics & a Beginner’s Guide to Programming 
4th & 5th Nov 2016, (2 days), STEM Centre, York.
Might also be on interest to non specialists.  See photos. Bursary available for state schools & academies which pays the course & accommodation fee.

Promoting Creativity, Imagination & Independence: Outstanding T&L in D&T (includes new GCSE)  (delivered on behalf of Keynote Educational)  9th November, London

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification
11th November, Liverpool   
(14th Dec, London also available)

Technical Textiles: Using Smart & Modern Materials in Your Classroom - 25th & 26th November 2016 (2 days), STEM Centre, York. See photosBursary available for state schools & academies which pays the course & accommodation fee.

Preparing to Teach the New D&T GCSE 9th & 10th December (2 days), STEM Centre, York
Bursary available for state schools & academies which pays the course & accommodation fee.

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow
3rd Dec, London 
(8th Oct, Nottingham also available)
New content for the new academic year: 
focus on the place of textiles in the new GCSE £42 & INCLUDES FREEBIES!

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification
14th December, London 
(11th Nov, Liverpool also available)

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 for more details. 

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