Funding for D&T

Use the drop down headings under the main ‘D&T’ menu to see other resources 


With significant financial challenges in many schools here are some ideas on where departments might be able get additional funding from:

  • Find out what STEM funding comes into school (science & maths is written into the GCSE which gives D&T a strong argument for getting a share!)
  • British Science Week grants ( These are only available to certain types of schools but the activities can be anything as long as they are science related and take place during British Science Week, which is in March each year. For example, activities could be linked to materials, electronics, energy or lots of the other areas of the science related links in the D&T KS3, GCSE and A level curriculum. The activities can be as creative as you like and don’t have to be in a traditional science format. This is a great opportunity to join forces with science (although that’s not compulsory) and to raise the profile of science in D&T 
  • Look at the courses we run for the National STEM Learning Centre as they have bursaries which are available to state schools and academies and which pay for the course fees (and often the accommodation). 
  • STEM AmbassadorsSTEM Ambassadors programme - Get visits and support from local STEM ambassadors in your area
  • Approach local community groups for real design contexts (some may even fund materials if they end up using items that have been designed and made)
  • Industry - Most companies, especially larger ones, have community support & social responsibility programmes. They are often keen to support the local area but don’t always know how. Even a company not related to design or manufacturing may be willing to offer some type of support and it’s a good idea to think outside the box about what a company might offer. Different companies will be prepared to offer different things e.g. funding, mentoring time, visits, waste materials, think about what might benefit them, along with what might be easy for them to sustain over a long period.  
  • Smaller local businesses might also be willing to support your department, especially if your school is happy to include a thank you and link to the business somewhere in a school newsletter or on the website (or even in the local paper). Smaller business may have more limited funds or ways of supporting a department but every little helps.
  • Competitions - Whilst competitions are more of a shot in the dark in terms of winning the big prizes it’s surprising how few entries some competitions get. As the famous lottery phrase goes, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it!’. As well as any prize that might be won there’s a great deal of kudos that comes from doing well in a competition and this in itself can make entering worthwhile. Take a look at our annual D&T competition as well as other competitions that run nationally. 
  • University outreach programmes - universities are keen to get access to students from an early age and most have some sort of outreach programme. What they are prepared to offer in terms of support varies but might include visits to school, visits to the uni, workshop activities, and even funding. 
  • Find your local Scrapstorelogo - These are local centres where schools can get resources for free. The only downside is there may be limits on what you are allowed to take and what is available constantly changes (you will also have to arrange for collection). 
  • B&Q has a community re-use programme that donates unsellable products to schools 
  • Working with other departments e.g. science - Rather than having to invest in new resources it may be possible to share resources with other departments. The fact that science and maths in particular are an explicit part of the D&T GCSE gives a strong argument for more shared resources. 
  • Review who pays for equipment maintenance - There’s a strong argument for this to come out of the whole school budget, particularly if you can link this to the health and safety obligations of the school. Find out what happens within other departments as there may be a precedent set that you can use to strengthen your argument. Our bursary funded courses at the STEM Centre for technicians to learn how to do basic maintenance and servicing of sewing machines may also help reduce maintenance costs in the long term (check the courses page for the next course - the bursary means the CPD is free to state funded schools and academies). 
  • Support from the library - School libraries are often keen to support departments so build up resources over time. Forward thinking libraries may be willing to think outside the box with the types of resources they collect e.g. creating handling collections. Use organisations such as the Design Museum, Dyson and the Science Museum as inspiration who have handling boxes and collections, many of which can be borrowed, and which can be used by different departments in different ways.
  • Sharing resources across local schools - Create your own handling boxes and get together with local schools to share the ones you don’t have access to. 
  • Parents - Use the school newsletter or a D&T newsletter to find out what jobs and hobbies parents do and how they might be able to support the department. This may lead to exciting opportunities but at the minimum this will help you build up a handling box of products. 
  • Free exam board courses - In particular look out for online courses 
  • Pupil Premium - Do you know how pupil premium is used in your school? Can you put forward an argument for some of this funding to be used for pupils in D&T?
  • Parent Teacher Association - Can you make items for summer fairs and keep a percentage of the profits? Can you put together a bid for how PTA funding might be used in your department?
  • Enrichment funding (e.g. G&T, after school clubs, enterprise & activity days
  • Get yourself noticed - Will your local council let you use an empty shop to showcase student work? Will they let you have a market stall for free once a year? How can you get your department in the local paper? On each occasion have information on show indicating how local parents and business might be able to support the department. 
  • Build into performance review targets - Think about your performance review targets and how you might be able to subtly build in the need for certain types of equipment and resources in order to meet your targets!


  • Funding isn’t necessarily always about money and there are lots of other ways for companies etc. to offer support.
  • Whilst a big donation of funding would be great, every little helps even if a local company can only offer £50 as this might fund a project for one year group. 
  • Most companies have waste materials so it’s just a case of finding out what these are and thinking creatively about how you might use them (and how you might collect and store them). 
  • Think creatively about how materials might be used e.g. polypropylene rubble sacks or tarpaulins donated by your local building firm make great materials for bags.
  • Lots of small, quick projects may be more cost effective than one big one
  • If students aren’t taking projects home it may be worthwhile reflecting on if this is the best way of spending the funding you do have
  • Think about what you give back to those that sponsor you so they see how worthwhile their sponsorship is e.g. a high profile thank you in the local paper, links to a company website (your school will need to agree to this)

One final word of warning… be careful about running a department on a shoestring and always using recycled materials. This can lead to the perception that D&T doesn’t need any funding as we can get by using other people’s rubbish. This can also lead to a limited understanding of what D&T is, which in turn reduces the incentive for school leaders to value and invest in D&T. 

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© Julie Boyd 2012  All  text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.