Copyright when designing, book recommendation & new free revision resources for textiles


Before Christmas I nominated Sally Beeston, from Groby Community College in Leicester, for a D&T Association Excellence Award. 

I was delighted to find out this week that Sally has been chosen as one of the winners of the Outstanding Teacher of Design and Technology award. 

As a Head of D&T Sally has done a lot to support the work I do as a consultant over a number of years. Amongst other things, she was one of the teachers that piloted the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy resources, and each year her textiles students contribute some fantastic work for display at my Textiles Teacher Event. I think it is important to celebrate everyday hard working teachers and these awards are a great way of doing this. Why not think about nominating someone in your department when the nominations open again at the end of the year. For more information on the awards visit

Focus on D&T:  For all D&T teachers

Copyright Issues

These links might be useful to get discussions going about copyright issues. This might be a good way of encouraging year 11s to be a little more innovative in their approach to designing in their exam. It might also be useful to save the links for when you next start a project to encourage students to move beyond Nike ticks and other copyrighted designs. 

Nike 3693 - clever hidden design details in Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers that help combat counterfeiters - article about Ralph Lauren having to destroy footwear that was found to be too similar to those designed and made by Converse (via @FastCoDesign & @careydunne) 

Why not get students looking at brands in the shops to see how cheaper brands copy ideas from the major brands, making a few changes to avoid being prosecuted. Take a look how similar the packaging is for these tissues - who copied who?!


Programming at KS3

If you are interested in embedding programming into your lessons as part of the KS3 new curriculum, and need to know the difference between Arduino and Raspberry Pi, this YouTube video is really good at explaining the difference You can also think of the use of PIC chip devices as a comparison to the Arduino. This is a bit simplified but a good analogy  

If you are looking for courses to update your programming knowledge, whether you are a beginner or more advanced, contact 

Course Updates: For All D&T Teachers

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

Maximising Progression in D&T using Higher Order Thinking Skills (Wed 25 Feb, Birmingham)

New KS3 Curriculum: Maximising Progression in D&T (Wed 13 May, York & Fri 3 July, London)

Focus on T&L & Leadership:  For all D&T teachers (& other subjects too!)

Sad News About Paul Ginnis

IMG 5050

I was really sad to hear that Paul Ginnis died suddenly on Friday 30th January. Paul’s book ‘The Teacher Toolkit’ was one of the first books on teaching and learning that really influenced me. It has remained a constant influence on my teaching over the years and it is still one I recommend on a lot of the courses I run. 

As well as information on how we learn, the book has an extensive range of audit tools, and is packed with over 60 teaching and learning activities. 

If you are ever looking for new T&L strategies to try out in you classroom this is a great book for ideas. Many of the activities that are common place today in our classrooms began life in this book. Although it was first published back in 2001 it is still as relevant now as when it was first written and it is definitely a book I would recommend. 

The loss of Paul Ginnis is incredibly sad but the legacy he leaves in the classroom lives on through this book and others he wrote.

Focus on Textiles: Back to  my roots!

GCSE & A Level Revision


I spent some time over the weekend updating my website for textiles students There are a range of different sections on the website, but there are 3 in particular that link together;  ‘Let’s Learn’, ‘#ThinkDo’ and ‘Example Questions’ and you might find these useful if you are starting revision.

The ‘Let’s Learn’ section gives tips on how to organise learning, as well as outlining key knowledge students need. Although it may not cover everything student’s need to know for the exam it gives them a good starting point. The ‘#ThinkDo’ section has lots of short ‘5 minute’ activities that are good for starters or plenaries or as ‘drip feed’ homework. This is probably the section that has the most content at the moment and new ones are added each week. The ‘Example Questions’ are questions with tips on how they might be answered. The questions are separated into levels of challenge and relate to potential GCSE and  A level questions. The questions aren’t exact copies of any exam boards past questions, because of copyright issues, but are based on the types of questions that are asked. 

I have now started to try coordinating the 3 sections so they are linked. There are now sections on smart and modern materials, manufacturing systems, and sustainability  all of which have a ‘Let’s Learn’, ‘#ThinkDo’, and ‘Example Questions’ section. 

The website will be added to and developed over time and I hope the resources support the revision work you are doing with your students. Visit for these resources and others aimed at textiles students. 

Click on these links to find out about my course on revision for the GCSE textiles exam as well my course on revising for the A level textiles exam 

Design Competition for Manchester Area Schools


I came across this design competition this week, although unfortunately it is only for schools in the Greater Manchester and surrounding areas, and the deadline date for submissions is 14th February. There is just enough time to set this as a homework and to enter the competition. Alternatively ideas could be based on current coursework projects.  For more information visit

Course Updates: For All D&T Textiles Teachers

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

GCSE Textiles Revision: Preparing for the Written Exam (Mon 9 Mar, Nottingham & Tues 26 May, Nottingham)

Maximising Progression & Developing Exam Technique in A Level Product Design Textiles (Tues 21 April, London)

Basic Introduction to E-textiles for Beginners (Fri 24 April, Nottingham)

Back to Basics: Developing Your Textiles Practical Skills (Thurs 7 May, Nottingham)

KS3 Textiles: Planning an Outstanding & Engaging Curriculum (Mon 18 May, Nottingham)

Basic & More Advanced E-Textiles (Including Basic Programming) (Sat 6 June, Nottingham)

A Level Product Design Textiles: Developing Key Knowledge and Skills for Units 1 & 3 (Tues 9 June, York)

STEM in Textiles: Using Maths to Inspire & Develop Your Textiles Curriculum (Mon 29 June, Nottingham)

Introduction to A level Textiles (Thurs 2 July, London)

Advanced Programmable E-textiles: Meeting the Electronics Requirements of the KS3 Curriculum (Mon 6 July, Nottingham)

Back to Basics - An Introduction to Textiles Practical Skills for Beginners (Wed 8th July, Nottingham)

The Textiles Teacher Event (Sat 3 October, Nottingham)

Free Photo Download

nike air trainer 3688

#ThinkDo Nike trainer using NASA inspired technology. What other NASA inspired products can you name?

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