The Textiles Ten: D&T Textiles

The Textiles Ten are a set of principles that are the key elements for maintaining a positive approach to teaching and learning in D&T Textiles at secondary level. The list is intended as a guideline only and other elements might also be considered.

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Many of these points are also relevant to all teachers of D&T. They have been used here to focus on D&T Textiles to support D&T Textiles teachers to come together as a community towards a common goal. The Textiles Ten aims to be a positive way of giving direction and focus when raising the profile of D&T Textiles, when thinking about schemes of learning and displays, when making department decisions, and in discussions with SLT, other staff, parents and students.
As the name would suggest there are 10 keywords:


Believe in D&T Textiles and raise its profile. Showcase what it is and use past and present students as role models. Educate others about the diversity of what D&T Textiles is and challenge stereotyped perceptions. Create schemes of learning relevant to the 21st Century that appeal to boys and girls of all ability levels. Flag up the achievement nationally of D&T Textiles as the second highest performing subject across the whole curriculum at GCSE in 2015 (source Diana Choulerton). Keep language positive even up against challenges; if Textiles teachers don’t believe in their subject no one else will!


2.  D&T

Celebrate the fact that D&T Textiles is part of wider D&T community and embrace opportunities to use new materials and technologies along with more traditional ones.  Flag up the contribution D&T Textiles makes to faculty results with it being the highest performing material area in many schools. Embrace the focus within D&T of making real products for real people, with real needs, within real world situations. Celebrate change as part of D&T as it reflects our ever changing world.

You might also be interested in the Q&A page on textiles in the new D&T curriculum



Recognize that the industrial and real world focus of D&T Textiles is what sets it apart from Art Textiles. Challenge negative perceptions about the textiles industry and educate others about the diverse industry it is. Use The Alliance Report to evidence growth within the industry and the contribution it makes to our economy (fifteenth largest in the world, contributing £11bn a year to the economy with 15,000 new jobs predicted by 2020). See a summary at



Young people now live in a high tech world and future designers will be a mix of scientists and artists all in one person. The future of textiles will rely heavily on electronics and STEM and it is important our curriculum prepares students for this. Consider carefully the types of projects you choose: do aprons and copied brands such as Minions reflect a 21st Century curriculum? Stand back and evaluate the message a quick walk past your classroom gives; does it educate and excite or does it reinforce negative perceptions? Do you do what you’ve always done or is there a different way?


5.  MAKE

Put learning first rather than just focusing on finished outcomes students make. D&T Textiles is about more than just making a product, so think about what the learning is, and then choose a product outcome, rather than fitting the learning in as an after thought. Call projects and modules by the learning focus rather than the product name and encourage students to do the same. This helps change perceptions of what D&T Textiles is when students talk outside of the lesson about their ‘electronics project in textiles’ rather than their ‘toy project’. Reflect on whether an end product is necessary for every year group; experimental work and modeling still involves making but can be more exciting, with more learning involved, and in some cases it can be cheaper. Review whether students always want to make a product to take home (or whether we just think they do), along with the amount of incomplete and abandoned work at the end of a term, and consider if funding is being used in the best way.


Focus on the production of quality work as this encourages others to value what D&T Textiles is. Don’t sacrifice quality over quantity; it’s better to do less but get better quality results. With the move towards a more product design approach ensure the focus on quality end products and high skill levels remains a focus. Showcase high quality, innovative products that reflect a 21st Century D&T Textiles curriculum in order to educate others about what textiles is.



Promote the academic content of D&T Textiles to help others understand what D&T Textiles is and to illustrate that this is one of the key differences between D&T and Art Textiles. Use science to help students understand how elements of D&T Textiles works and demonstrate how this links to career areas, and in particular to skills shortage areas as outlined by The Alliance Report. Develop cross curricular links to science, maths, business studies and other subjects; show other teachers the links in their curriculum to what is taught in D&T Textiles and flag these links up to students. Showcase exam papers and textbooks along with the usual designing work and product outcomes. This helps demonstrate the high level academic thinking required in D&T Textiles, especially at A level, and helps combat the perception that D&T Textiles is only about making something.  Be positive about the academic side of D&T Textiles as negativity suggests D&T Textiles teachers don’t like a challenge! Don’t assume that the academic side of D&T Textiles makes it less creative; the potential for creativity is enhanced by the deeper understanding academic knowledge gives, and creativity is restricted only by an individual’s imagination.


Promote the wide range of D&T Textiles careers across the industry. Show there is more to textiles than just being a designer, and that there are other areas to work in apart from fashion. Showcase newer textiles career areas that require skills in science, electronics and engineering as alternatives to more traditional career paths. Use The Alliance Report to evidence the growth in jobs by 2020, along with the growth of jobs in the technical textiles industry, where the UK is a world leader.


9.  ART

Embrace and celebrate art and craft based textiles whilst remembering to do this within the context of D&T. Use positive language when talking about Art and D&T Textiles and avoid language that suggests one is easier than the other. Maintain a focus on functional products, that meet real needs, of real people, in a real world and plan projects with this in mind. Ensure decisions to move to a more Art Textiles curriculum are informed and based on what is best for students. Consider the wider impact of a decision to move towards Art Textiles e.g. a reduction in young people with D&T Textiles skills & the wider impact on the industry long term; whether students will have the skills needed for the career opportunities within an industry that currently has a skills shortage in D&T Textiles related work areas (source The Alliance Report); along with issues such as the impact on D&T faculty results and its strength as a curriculum area (especially as GCSE D&T Textiles results were the second highest across the curriculum nationally in 2015). 

You might also be interested in the Q&A page on D&T textiles and art textiles

10. STEM

We live in a high tech world and the future of design, including textiles, will rely heavily on STEM related areas. It is important our curriculum prepares students for a world whose technological advancements we can’t yet predict, particularly as they will be the people creating these changes. Include references to STEM as part of every day learning and regularly use words such as science, electronics, and engineering as key elements of D&T Textiles. Consider whether the curriculum reflects the reality of a 21st Century textiles industry. Reflect on how STEM can be used to engage boys in textiles, as well as engaging girls in technology, along with identifying how department funding can be increased by accessing STEM funds that come into school.

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You might also be interested in the following pages:

Q&A page on textiles in the new curriculum

Q&A page on D&T textiles and art textiles

Information on the textiles industry including The Alliance Report

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