Wired magazine, reflective textiles, draft D&T GCSE spec & a selfie D&T display 

We are getting closer to half term which also means closer to the exams starting. With this in mind I have put together 27 of my #ThinkDo activities from the last few months into one PowerPoint and these might be useful for last minute revision planning over the next few weeks. I am just finalising the resource and as soon as it is ready it will be available to download my via my Facebook page. Make sure you ‘like' the page so you will get a notification when it has gone live. Most of the activities have been given away for free on my Facebook page already but there are a few new ones. Even if you downloaded each one as it was posted on Facebook you might find the resource worth a look as all of the activities are together in one place. There are also  a range of #ThinkDo activities on my website plus an additional 100 cards available to buy .

Free Resources 


Quick activities with a free photo & thinking point. 

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#ThinkDo #Revision These buckets have been mass produced. What does this mean? What other scales of production are used to manufacture products? Name example products for each method you name.

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:

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

15th May - Online discussion on food safety (Food Teachers Centre

16th May - Closing date: Lincolnshire Young Designer of the Year

16th May - new series of The Sewing Bee starts

18th May - Closing date: Triumph Design Awards

19th May - Date when the exam boards have to have their first draft of the new D&T GCSE to Ofqual. These drafts should also be released to teachers around this date. 

20th May - Food Revolution Day 

22nd May - Online discussion on non specialists in food (Food Teachers Centre

25th May - Live Q&A session by D&TA on the new GCSE specs

24th - 26th May - Clerkenwell Design Week

27th May - Closing date:  John Lewis Innovation Challenge

27th May - Closing date: Young Fashion Designer UK (Midlands - 10th June for the South Centre)

27th & 27th May - Preparing to Teach the New GCSE D&T course (with Enthuse Bursary that funds the course)

Curriculum Updates

Single GCSE D&T Qualification

The release date for the GCSE draft specifications by the exam boards is 19th May which is when everything has to be received by Ofqual. Fingers crossed this is also when these will be on more general release. Just from the Subject Content document that was released some time ago we already know things are going to feel very different. Here are a few thoughts to consider when reading the specs and sample papers:

  • These are DRAFT proposals that have to be agreed by Ofqual so nothing is set in stone.
  • Be careful of making decisions based on the draft specs. Many new qualifications being taught from this September still don’t have their specs agreed by Ofqual so this may be a lengthy process with significant changes still to come. Base any planning on the original Subject Content document as this is what all exam bodies have to use. 
  • The new spec is very much a D&T qualification focusing on real world 21st Century D&T rather than having an art or craft bias. It’s important to bear in mind what D&T is and, that whilst there are many cross overs, it is a different subject to art and craft.
  • All subjects across the whole curriculum are facing increased rigour making them more challenging. This is reflected in some of the new compulsory content for the new GCSE which is likely to feel out of many people’s comfort zone, including the broader materials focus, electronics & programming, forces, and mechanisms.
  • This new content may feel intimidating and unfamiliar for many teachers but most of it should already be being covered by a good KS3 curriculum. It will need to be topped up at KS4, but this should be more about revision of KS3 than new delivery. There is no reason why much of what is currently taught at KS4 should not continue in the same way. The key area for departments to focus on is getting a strong KS3 curriculum that acts as a basis for KS4.
  • Science and maths content is also compulsory and will give things a different feel. In particular 15% of the exam paper has to consist of maths based questions. Much of this is what we do already but which we don’t really think about.
  • There is no reason for the loss of any material area, indeed if departments don’t cover a material area they will struggle to meet the broader material approach in the way it was intended.
  • Just because language feels challenging, & some concepts feel unfamiliar, doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant to a material area, for example the concept of forces may feel unfamiliar to textiles teachers but this is actually a key part of fabric testing and materials use.
  • It’s important that we give feedback, both good and bad. We can’t moan about what we get if we don’t take the time out to put forward our thoughts. Try and avoid an emotive response and focus on the implications for D&T and what is right for young people entering a high tech world. How well do the specs meet the aims of the Subject Content document? Do the examples and content in the spec promote best practice within each material area? Does the spec and sample questions reflect real world 21st Century D&T? Have concepts that apply across all material areas e.g. forces, been approached in an open way or is there a bias towards one material area? What types of images have been used and are they the best ones that enable all students to access and answer a question?

STEM Centre 2If you want to know more about the new GCSE take a look at the the 2 day residential course on 27th & 28th May in York (Enthuse Bursary available to pay for the fees & accommodation if you are a state funded school or academy) or the one day course we are running for Keynote Educational on 5th July in London

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If you want to know more about the place of textiles in the new GCSE take a look at the new course that has just been added to the calendar on 13th July in Nottingham

In The News

Job Opportunity

If you are in the West Midlands area there is an exciting job opportunity working with the Design and Technology Association leading the development of D&T in selected West Midlands secondary schools. Find out more (closing date 20th May) 

Wired Magazine

Thanks to Steve Davison who posted in the STEM Textiles Facebook group about the current edition of Wired magazine (June edition). It has a great pull out section on Fashion Tech, along with quite a few other textiles related bits and pieces in the rest of the magazine, plus lots of D&T stuff generally. It’s definitely worth a look.


Resources To Support Lesson Planning

Reflective Textiles

Reflective copy

One of my #ThinkDo activities this week was on reflective fabric which is a great way of introducing modern materials into the classroom. In the past it was mostly used for high vis products but it has become quite popular on the high street recently particularly since Pharrell Williams wore a reflective suit to the Grammys last year. DJ Chris Holmes has also designed scarves and jackets as part of his Flashback collection that he describes as anti paparazzi because when photos are taken the reflection from the garments ruin a photo

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You can also buy a range of cheap hats and other products on the high street for product analysis activities in the classroom, and Next currently have a reflective fabric umbrella in their menswear section. For classroom projects you can buy sew in reflective tape from Chesterfords for around £2 a metre (5cm wide). You can also buy the fabric by the metre (91cm wide) from Ahead Solutions but it’s expensive so using the tape is more cost effective for most projects in school.

Useful Quick Links

Redesigning tongue depressors - a good example of designing with the user experience in mind

Park benches

Sustainable tent designed for refugees and natural disasters which was inspired by natural forms such as snakeskin and traditional cultural aspects of nomadic life such as weaving & tent dwellings. 

A short video that might go with my #ThinkDo on rethinking the design of park benches

Tips on maintaining energy levels, concentration & memory during exam season. There’s lots of this sort of thing around but this is set out in an accessible way and could be useful for tutor time.

Featured School

Wymondham College, Norfolk

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I saw this ’selfie’ display, by Jonny Meeson & Caroline Gallagher from Wymondham College in Norfolk, on one of the D&T Facebook groups and thought it was a really great idea. Along with some careers information is a poster made by year 8 students saying ‘I am the future of technology’. The idea is to capitalise on our obsession with selfies as students can take their own photo in front of the display. This is a great way of creating a quick and easy display as well as a way of raising the profile of D&T. 

There are lots of ways to develop Jonny & Caroline's great idea. Why not take a photo of each student in your class in front of the selfie board and display all of their photos? If phones aren’t allowed in your school why not take a photo of a student yourself in front of the display when they have produced excellent work? This could be emailed to parents or even used to create postcards home as a reward. 

Visit Wymondham College’s ‘Featured Schools’ page to see the photos in full. 

Find out how your school can be featured on my website

Competitions  Click here for information on other D&T competitions 

Are You Entering My 'Product In A Tin’ 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. Closing date 1st August 2016.

Course Updates

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

Preparing to Teach the New D&T GCSE 27th & 28th May (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.

Electrify Your Curriculum! E-textiles Basics & a Beginner’s Guide to Programming - 10 & 11 June, (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

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)

STEMtech Conference 13th & 14th June, Telford
We will be delivering a one hour workshop on E-textiles as well as a one hour workshop on the Igloo programmable board 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 NEW
This course is delivered on behalf of Keynote Educational
6th July, London
10th November, London

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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 JUST £42 & INCLUDES FREEBIES! 

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 

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