Free & low cost CPD, biomimicry, electronics & e-textiles, tutor time activities & useful links

Just before half term OCR’s GCSE specification was accredited by Ofqual making them the first board to get the go ahead with the new specs. According to the DfE guidance page Edexcel’s is also now ratified, along with their A level, although at the time of writing there doesn’t seem to be anything on Pearson’s website to confirm this. AQA submitted their second submission for GCSE late last week although again I can’t see the updated 2nd draft on their website at the moment. Eduqas are due to submit their 3rd resubmission although no date is indicated as to when this might be. Keep an eye on this DfE page for updates. 

If you are looking for courses on the new qualifications we’re running one at the STEM Centre on the GCSE as well as one on the A Level (both include bursaries to pay for the fees and accommodation). If you want something more textiles specific, look at our course focusing on  how textiles fits into the new GCSE with dates in London (one at the University of East London and another at Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green), Liverpool, and Nottingham. Lots of other new courses have also been added to the course calendar this week so scroll down to the bottom of the page for details. 

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

4th/5th Nov - E-textiles Basics & A Beginner’s Introduction to Programming (too late to book now - why not book the one in on 16th & 17th June?)

7th - 11th Nov - Tomorrow’s Engineers Week

7th - 18th Nov - I’m An Engineer online challenge - an X Factor style event where students can see & interact with engineers

11th Nov - GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification in Liverpool (dates also available at 2 venues in London & Nottingham)

24th Nov - Kitronik Teacher Evening with Just Add Sharks, BBC micro:bit & pizza!

25th/26th Nov - Technical Textiles: Using Smart & Modern Materials in D&T course

25th - 27th Nov - New Design Museum opening weekend

3rd Dec - The Textiles Teacher Roadshow, Parsons Green, London £42 - Book soon as half the tickets have now sold

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 What user needs can you see? What would you design?
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


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

Videos, #ThinkDo cards and various weblinks and activities including resources by Janine Benyus who was the first person to use the phrase biomimicry in the late 1990s. 

Electronics, e-textiles & wearables


Videos, #ThinkDo cards and weblinks on electronics, e-textiles and wearables including tutorial handouts on the micro:bit and Igloo. Also includes the Project Jacquard Trucker Jacket and the Zeeq Smart Pillow

See all of the Let’s Learn resources

Useful Links

Korean designer Woojai Lee who is using recycled newspapers to create furniture 

The use of fur tends to get a lot of attention for being cruel but this is an interesting article which might be good for discussion on whether using wool is cruel. 

Infographic on how Coca Cola recycles plastic bottles to create new & innovative items

Article on textiles manufacturing in the Britain and why some of it is returning to the UK

Low Cost & Free CPD

Online Courses

If CPD is difficult to access in your school the University of Leeds Future Learn website is worth a look as it has a number of free online courses that run at different times of the year. At the beginning of term I did a series of them on innovation to find out what they were like. The content is pretty basic but they were interesting and relevant as well as being manageable with just a couple of hours over a 2 week period. A range of activities are set including videos, some personal reflection and research as well as contributing to online forums. The timings were very flexible and you could interact as much or as little with the rest of the community who were also taking the course. As well as being useful short CPD for teachers the courses are particularly useful as homework or flipped learning activities for students, especially Post 16. 

Free Courses at the National STEM Learning Centre

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Don’t forget we run a number of courses at the National STEM Learning Centre all of which have bursaries which pay the course fee and for any accommodation on 2 day courses. New ones added recently include on on the new GCSE D&T, the new D&T A levels, as well as technician courses to support the new GCSE D&T and on sewing machine maintenance. To see all of the current courses we are running at the Centre visit the course calendar or scroll down.

This blog on the National STEM Learning Centre website has some useful thoughts on how to submit CPD proposals to senior leadership by focusing on the impact and cost benefits of CPD as an investment. 

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow

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At £42 this is our lowest cost course, something we are able to do because the day is sponsored by a number of companies. The first Roadshow of this academic year took place at the beginning of October with 40 enthusiastic teachers spending the day dong a range of hands on activities and the next one will be in London on 3rd December. Find out more about the Roadshow

Tutor Time Activities

DNA Journey


This video by Momondoan independent global travel search website, might be a useful tutor time activity. I first saw it on the JambleD&T group and it has a powerful message about the fact that we have more in common with other nationalities than we might think. Sixty seven people from all over the world took a DNA test to find out about their heritage with lots of surprises they weren’t expecting. 

Competitions  Click here for information on other D&T competitions 

NEW 'Product In A Tin’ Competition (deadline 1st August 2017)


After the success of the 2016 competition the theme of a ‘Product in a Tin’ continues for a second year but with a few changes that make it a little different.  

Find out more about the 2017 competition & see all the resources that support teachers and students

See the 2016 winners

Course Updates 

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

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification 11th November, Liverpool   

(14th Dec, London, 14th Jan, Nottingham & 24th Jan London also available)

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

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Technicians Supporting the New D&T GCSE 28th & 29th November 2016 (2 days - note we are delivering part of day 1 only), STEM Centre, York. Bursary available which pays the course & accommodation fee. 

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow 3rd Dec, London  INCLUDES NEW GCSE D&T (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  BOOK SOON AS HALF THE TICKETS ARE NOW SOLD

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

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GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification
14th December, London 
(11th Nov, Liverpool, 14th Jan, Nottingham & 24th Jan London also available) NEW DATES ADDED

A Beginner’s Guide to Electronics  NEW
13th January 2017, Nottingham

Includes components to take away

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification 14th January, Nottingham 
(11th Nov, Liverpool, 14th Dec, London, & 24th Jan London also available) NEW DATES ADDED

Textiles Technicians: Basic Maintenance & Servicing of Sewing Machines 11th January, Nottingham NEW
Bursary available which pays the course fee.
(Also 27th March, 

Leading an Effective D&T Department 18/19 Jan & 21/22 June (4 day residential split into 2 x 2 day blocks - note we are delivering 18 Jan & 22nd June only) STEM Centre, York Bursary available which pays course & accommodation fee

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Maximising Progression & Developing Exam Technique for A Level Product Design Textiles 23rd January, University of East London NEW

(also Liverpool 30th January)

3D printing

An Introduction to 3D Software & 3D Printing, 23rd January, University of East London NEW

Suitable for all D&T teachers

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GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification 24th January, University of East London 
(11th Nov, Liverpool, 14th Dec, London, & 14th Jan Nottingham also available) NEW DATES ADDED

Maximising Progression & Developing Exam Technique for A Level Product Design Textiles 23rd January, Liverpool NEW

(also London 23rd January)

low E-textiles circuit

An Introduction to E-textiles for Beginners 3rd February, Nottingham NEW

Includes components to take away & project ideas

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Microcontrollers & Programming in Electronics & E-textiles 4th February, Nottingham NEW 

Includes components to take away

Preparing to Teach the New Design and Technology AS and A Levels 10th & 11th February (2 days) Bursary available which pays the course & accommodation fee. NEW

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

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