Useful D&T links, drip feed revision, new student website & new student competition

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas break & that your New Year has got off to a good start.

A big focus for the first newsletter of the New Year is revision. It may seem early to be thinking about this, but as the newsletter goes on to explain, easing into it slowly now might make a big difference when the pressure really kicks in in a few months. 

Don’t forget that if you would like me to do revision sessions with your students it is a good idea to get in touch sooner rather than later as I get booked up quickly. Now that my husband has joined me working as a consultant we can offer a wide range of focuses for revision sessions so just email to discuss how we might meet your requirements. 

Focus on D&T:  For all D&T teachers

Useful Links

Here are some quick links to get the New Year off to a good start. Use them to support lessons you are already planning, or why not set them as a homework and do some 'flipped learning’. Here the students do the learning and research at home and then use the information as the focus for discussion and questioning in the lesson. Find out more about flipped learning at - Volvo truck design process showing modelling & sketching - website & store that sells design classics. In particular take a look at the designer directory that has work from loads of designers, both new and old, along with short biographies. - number of clips including a BBC Radio 4 broadcast on the Bauhaus School of Art & Design, as well as the story of 10 objects made in Germany (via @GSALibrary & @AST_Teg) - short video on the life and times of Ettorre Sottsass (from the You Tube playlist of @TuxfordDESIGN) - range of Herman Miller products, including images that can be downloaded. Also has links on ergonomics & various other background information. 

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

Drip Feed Revision

Regular readers of the newsletter will know that I am a big fan of starting revision very early by encouraging students to do just 5 minutes a day. In fact if students do this every day from January to the end of April that is nearly 10 hours of revision without it really feeling like revision at all. 

Whilst those aiming for higher grades will need to ramp things up a gear from April onwards I have found this drip feed method of learning to be a great way of maximising progression for all students. Weaker students have responded particularly well to it, especially those who wouldn’t normally have done any revision at all. Find out more about drip feed revision at see

As part of drip feed revision I regularly upload #ThinkDo activities onto my Instagram and Flickr boards as well as onto Twitter. These are short sound bites of thinking that aim to keep the D&T muscles well used! I also have lots of these on my website and they are gradually being added to. There are a range of generic D&T ones as well as some textiles specific ones 

Pinterest is also another great 5 minute revision tool. If there are issues with using social media in school students can set up their own boards at home. Find out more about what Pinterest is at Take a look at how I use Pinterest at 

Focus on Textiles: Back to  my roots!

Website For Textiles Students

Over the holiday I have spent a lot of time developing my website aimed at students The site will take a long time to fully develop, as it is all done in my free time, but there is already some revision information on there, along with careers advice and other bits and pieces. Although it is targeted at students textiles teachers might also find it useful. In particular if you are considering using the #ThinkDo activities mentioned earlier in the newsletter you will find lots of these under the revision section

If you are looking for a course with tips & strategies for effective revision at GSCE there is one in Nottingham on Monday 9th March & another on Tuesday 26th March (note that the second one is during half term at the request of a delegate from abroad). For more information visit

Win An Embellisher Machine For Your Department! 

The New Year sees the launch of my new competition sponsored by Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking and Coles Sewing Centre. The prize is an embellisher machine which will be awarded to the school attended by the winning student. The winner will also receive a separate prize just for themselves. There will also be runner up prizes and teacher prizes. 

Just like the postcard competition run in 2013/2014 the aim of the competition is to give students the opportunity to showcase their textiles work as well as introducing a potential project idea for the classroom. Unlike the previous competition the main prize goes to the school rather than the student so this is a great way of getting a new piece of equipment for free!

The competition is open to any student in years 7-13 and students can either submit work through their school or independently. They will however need a signature from their textiles teacher in order to enter the competition and this is because the prize is awarded to the school. 

The competition requires students to decorate a piece of bunting with the theme of ‘The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water’. Although bunting is quite a traditional end product this was chosen as it can be used to create a great hanging display at some of the events I run. 

Although the bunting is quite traditional teacher are, however, encouraged to get students to develop non stereotypes responses to the brief. In particular they are encouraged  touse STEM ideas, whether it be in the useof materials and components, or through the interpretation of the theme. Any textile materials and techniques can be used and, again, the use of more adventurous designs using things like laser cutting, 3D printing etc. are more likely to be successful. 

High quality outcomes will also be a key criteria when judging the end products so teachers should stressthis to students. Age will be taken into account when judging entries. It is worth reminding students that in the previous competition one of the youngest students beat all of the older ones with a product of outstanding quality, so age should not be seen as a barrier to entry.

The closing date for the competition is 24th July 2015 (the end of the summer term). This means there are lots of opportunities to use the competition as a class project e.g. as part of the KS3 curriculum, as a GCSE or A level revision project, or as an after school club. 

There is more information on the competition at  along with tips and advice on on how students can create a winning entry. Application forms and terms and conditions can also be found at this link.  

Course Updates: For All D&T Textiles Teachers

Courses for textiles teachers taking place in the next few weeks. See the bottom of the newsletter for the full list or visit 

Programmable E-textiles components (including KS3 curriculum content) - 16th January, Nottingham

An Introduction to A Level Product Design Textiles - 21st January, Nottingham 

STEM in Textiles - 7th Feb, Nottingham 

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