Non Specialist Teachers Teaching D&T

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Unfortunately the use of non specialist teachers in D&T is a common issue, particularly with a lot of schools feeling the pinch financially. 

The following might be points to consider when discussing this issue with senior leadership:

  • Knowledge & skills & the impact on T&L (including results)
  • Safety implications (do staff have the appropriate safety training & certificates?)
  • What funding & other support will be put in place to ensure appropriate training is put in place to meet T&L and H&S requirements?
  • What monitoring systems will be used to ensure the impact of non specialists is reviewed?
  • Identify who is responsible for any issues that arise particularly with regard to H&S (you may want to get union advice on this)
  • Keep a log of any issues, parent communication etc. & make sure the head teacher & other relevant staff are kept informed of concerns
  • Make sure appropriate risk assessments are in place


The statement below is on the D&T Association website in the FAQ section and the last sentence clearly states that non specialists should not be used in D&T:

'The document BS4163:2007 Health and safety for design and technology in schools and similar establishments – Code of Practice’ provides clear guidance on those responsible for supervising students whilst undertaking design and technology activities. As a Code of Practice it provides practical compliance of how to comply with the law. Approved Codes of Practice have a special legal status. If employers are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that they have not followed the relevant provisions of the Approved Code of Practice, a court can find them at fault unless they can show that they have complied with the law in some other way. BS4163 states that ‘In England and Wales the recommended maximum number of students in any one work area is 20 students, with one competent, qualified teacher’. It notes further that ‘It is essential that the teacher has recognised accredited health and safety training’. It would be quite inappropriate therefore in view of these statements for non-specialists to work alone with students in design and technology.’

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To buy the full standard referred to above visit http://goo.gl/Kz4oG4 (note the date has changed & this is a more updated version)

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The NUT also have a document relating to H&S in practical lessons and about half way through it talks about the use of competent trained staff. Speak to your union to get up to date advice and information. 



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