Draft specs for D&T, Rhode Island Design School, biomimicry & useful quick links

Paul & Julie Boyd

We are starting to think about courses for next term so if anyone has any particular courses, dates and venues they would like to see included let me know. We find teacher requests for courses the best way of identifying the types of courses that are needed so whilst we can't guarantee anything all requests will be considered. You wouldn’t be under any obligation to attend just because you requested a particular course and date to be considered. Courses during the summer holidays have also become increasingly popular with the challenges of getting out of school and, again, if anyone has any particular requests for courses over the summer, just let me know.

Free Resources 

Quick activities with a free photo & thinking point. 

Bamboo 5904

#ThinkDo #Material Bamboo can be a wood or textiles material. Is it considered a hard or soft wood? What properties in common does it have as a wood & textiles material?

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: 


Click on the links below to see more:

  • Resource handout on the joint project by furniture and textiles students tasked with rethinking the use of soft materials in chair design 
  • Use of woods, metal & plastic in the degree show work of textiles students at Nottingham Trent University
  • My summary document on the draft GCSE specs 
  • Textiles work showcased in my local railway station
  • & too many others things to mention!
  • ‘Like' my Facebook page to keep up to date with news, daily ideas, & freebies

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

10th & 11th June - E-textiles & Programming course, York

12th June - Online support for planning the new GCSE food scheme of learning (Food Teachers Centre

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

Curriculum Updates

The Draft D&T Specs

The new draft specs for the GCSE and A level qualifications were released just before half term giving everyone lots of holiday reading! It’s important to remember that the specs are only drafts at this stage, but nevertheless they do give us a starting point to thinking about what our curriculum might look like from 2017 onwards. On my website there are some thoughts on the GCSE specs in particular that we put together for a course we ran not long after the draft specs were released. They include some questions you might use to reflect on both the draft specs as well as the actual specs when they are finalised. They are just our opinion (for what it’s worth!) and we don’t represent any body or organisation. We are supporting some schools who are acting as case studies to see how different schools approach things and we will release any findings and ideas as things develop.

If you are looking for ideas for the new GCSE take a look at the courses page to see the full list of events coming up. These include one on textiles in the new GCSE on 13th July, one on D&T for all material areas at the STEM Centre in December (which includes an Enthuse bursary to pay for the fees) as well as the new GCSE being the focus for The Textiles Teacher Roadshow this year. 

In The News

A big congratulations to Jenny Hughes from Shuttleworth College who came on our STEM Centre course on e-textiles and programming before Christmas. Jenny has been awarded a Rolls Royce Special Merit Award of £1000 for her school for the Action Plan she wrote following the course. You can see Jenny hard at work on the course in the images below. See the article that went into the local paper and on Jenny's school’s website. 

Jenny Hughes 1

Any one who attends the STEM Centre courses, and who completes their action plan, is eligible to be entered into the Rolls Royce Award. The courses are already great value as for state funded schools and academies the fees can be funded by an Enthuse bursary (which also pays for accommodation for the 2 day courses). The potential for getting some additional funding via the Rolls Royce Award is a great additional bonus. Take a look at the courses we are running at the Centre.

Resources To Support Lesson Planning

Rhode Island Design School Resource

Rhode Island School of Design

If you are thinking about the potential for some projects in the future to incorporate mixed materials, the work by the students from the Rhode Island School of Design might be of interest. Students from furniture design and textiles were tasked with working together to rethink how materials are used in chair designs. I have put some of the information together in a handout resource which also includes links to the original photos which can be downloaded from the Design School’s website. Departments don’t have to take this type of multi material approach to the new GCSE, but the great thing is that if students or departments want to go down this route there is now more flexibility to be able to do so. 


L pine cone 1833

Biologist Janine Benyus was the first person to use the phrase biomimicry in the late 1990s and she has recently done a TED Talk that might be useful for A level students in particular. It is quite long at 17 minutes, and the pace is a little slow in places, but it has some interesting examples of biomimicry in design. In the video Benyus refers to the www.asknature.org website which is collecting information on every organism and how it might link to design and engineering. The aim is that a designer or inventor can type in a question or design problem to get ideas on how they might get inspiration from biology. Both this and the website for the company Benyus works for are worth a look  

Useful Quick Links

  • Concept for Eames inspired Nike footwear in bent plywood and leather. A great example of a multi material product based on the work of a designer 
  • The Contours Baby Stroller Test-Ride  - this short video of a giant baby stroller is more of a promotional gimmick than a genuine product but it’s good for generating discussion on product testing and user needs
  • Kazbrella - rethinking the umbrella, simple changes that make the traditional umbrella design more user friendly. There is also a useful You Tube video on the Kazbrella  
  • The new £5 note coming out in September will be made out of polymer and will be tear resistant and repel dirt. The note even has its own website http://www.thenewfiver.co.uk. You can also see more information on the Bank of England website and in this article in the Telegraph
  • If your students are doing a costume brief this information on the history of fastenings might be useful to help them get the right fastening for the time period. It might also be of use generally to help student think about why a particular fastening is used in the way it is. 


Competitions  Click here for information on other D&T competitions 

7 WEEKS to the Deadline for my Textiles Competition 

Click here to find out more about this year’s textiles competition where one of your students could win your department a £300 sewing machine. Why not use the competition as the focus for a whole module of work, as a revision activity or simply set it as a homework. Students can also submit entries independently (although the school still wins the main prize).  Closing date 1st August 2016.

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 for Learning Design & Technology Conference 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, Micro:bit & 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), NEW 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. 

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