Rushcliffe School, Nottingham

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Unlocking Potential: Bags For Life & Creating Business Links

This year 9 module of work focusing on the 6Rs and industrial screen printing was developed by Alison McDonald, Teresa Lacey, Sharon Fitzpatrick and Michelle Weston from Rushcliffe school in Nottingham. It is a great example of how links with industry can be used to develop and enhance learning in the classroom, along with helping students gain an understanding of industrial practices in D&T. 

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Alison and Teresa arranged for one of the directors of Direct Trade Bags in Melton Mowbray to visit the school and talk about the company and the process of screen printing. Students then trialled and tested different decorative processes such as screen printing, appliqué, and sublimation printing before designing and making a bag for life based on the theme of Nottingham. 

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Students made up their own versions of their bag design after which their designs were sent to the company who picked a winner to be produced professionally in the factory. 

Bayley Atton was the lucky winner and Bayley and the other students got the opportunity to tour the factory to see the winning bag being printed. 

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Below you can see the bag Bayley made in school along with the bag the company printed using her original design. 

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Student work featured at The Textiles Teacher Roadshow

This work, along with the Takeaway Homework mentioned below, was featured as part of the display of student work at The Textiles Teacher Roadshow. The displays at the event showcase best practices in textiles and inspires other teachers. 

Click here to see more about The Textiles Teacher Roadshow where this work appeared

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Year 7 Takeaway Homework Competition

Michelle Weston, textiles teacher at Rushcliffe School, Nottingham, introduced a competitive element to the takeaway homework she set her year 7 students by running it as a competition. As the school is round the corner from where my parents live, and therefore somewhere I visit often, I agreed to pop into school to judge the competition. I really enjoyed see the work students had produced and it was a real challenge choosing a winner as it was clear students had worked very hard. 

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Many students had been very independent and creative in their approach to the homework. As well as a piece of practical work most students did some sort of photo story which they presented on a display board. These boards make up a fantastic display in the classroom and around the school. 

The winner I chose was Joshua Dobson who made a crocheted iPhone case. The reason I chose this work was because Joshua taught himself to crochet and this is quite a tricky technique to get the hang of. I liked his photo story and was also impressed that he even got his brother interested in having a go! Crochet is quite a traditional textiles technique but Joshua and his brother, as well as the finished iPhone case, make it look a cool up to date technique.

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Second place went to two entries as it was too hard to choose between them! Sam Biddlestone was one of the second prize winners and he produced some great screen printed fabric which he made into a pocket for a t.shirt. Sam’s choice of screen printing impressed me because it is quite a challenging technique to do and his print was accurately done. 

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The other second prize went to George Chant who designed and made a pencil case with a zip. Both checked fabric and zips are challenging to do but George coped with these challenges very well and his pencil case was very accurately made. 

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Third prize went to Isabel Burnett who had designed and made a Christmas decoration. I particularly liked the fact she had designed her own pattern templates and that she had outlined the stages of making her product in detail. Her finished decoration is quirky, fun and well made.

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There were lots of other pieces of work that are worth a mention and one in particular was by Joe Archibald. This was a hot water bottle cover repurposed out of an old school uniform sweater. Joe’s idea was very simple, but something a little different. The idea was effective and I particularly liked the way Joe used the V neck of the sweater as part of his design. 

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Unfortunately there are far too many other great pieces of work to be able to feature them all here but a small selection is included below. 


All of the work was impressive, but I was particularly impressed by the quality of some of the work the boys had produced, and this is reflected in the fact that so many boys won top prizes. I really enjoyed looking at all of the work and I would like to thank Michelle and the year 7 students for inviting me to judge the competition. 

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