Design and Technology Association say farewell to Andy Mitchell, Deputy Chief Executive

Published 9th March 2018

Andy Mitchell Deputy Chief Executive has decided that it is time to move on and start the next chapter in his life, this week announcing that he will be standing down from his post at the Association this summer.

Although there is no doubt that this has been a tough decision for Andy, he feels that after 13 years in post this is the right time to move on. He refuses to use the word ‘retirement’ as “there is still so much to do”. Andy states “This is the longest period of time I have remained in one job, indicating how happy I have been! I am hugely grateful for the opportunities the role has provided and the privileged position I have enjoyed, working with so many talented colleagues – both members of staff but also many members of the wider community. As a long-term advocate for the Association, I certainly want to remain involved, albeit without my current responsibility.”

Tony Ryan who joined the Association as Chief Executive in January stated: “Andy has presence and status within the subject, so many people in our community know him, are aware of his immense passion for the subject and have benefited from his expansive subject knowledge. Andy made me aware of his plans almost as soon as I was appointed having made his decision last year, but it says a lot about him that he delayed his announcement and leave date in order to give me time to settle into my new role. It goes without saying that he will be missed. We are very sorry to see him go but wish him well in his future endeavours - some of which we feel confident will continue to involve him with the D&T community and with the Design & Technology Association"

Andy’s departure does of course open up an opportunity for someone to play a key part in the life of the Association and the subject community, we will be advertising the post within the next month and expect to appoint early in the summer term.


Andy has devoted most of his professional career to design and technology, from early on, this involved him with the Design and Technology Association. Andy was a trustee of the Association before his appointment in 2005. Back then he worked as a Principal Lecturer in the Centre for Design and Technology Education at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) – at the time, the largest provider of D&T Initial Teacher Education in the country, graduating over 100 new D&T teachers per year. 

While at SHU, he developed a qualification in subject leadership for the Association, integrating the content into what went on to become a highly successful part-time MA in Design and Technology Education that he led successfully for six years. The course continued to run at Sheffield for over 15 years, closing only recently. Before working at SHU, for 16 years Andy taught in inner London and Derbyshire schools where his passion was for developing excellent D&T in challenging situations. Eckington School in Derbyshire, where Andy led the subject for a number of years, won the Young Engineer of Great Britain Award three times.

During his time at the Association Andy has been involved with, and led, many significant initiatives to develop the subject and support both members and non-members. In particular, he will be remembered for the significant role he played, with others, in campaigning and salvaging the subject when it was consigned to the ‘basic curriculum’ by the then Secretary of State Michael Gove’s Expert Panel, thus removing it from the National Curriculum in 2012.

In 2014 Andy played a leading role in rewriting the National Curriculum D&T programmes of study.  More recently he has been influential in the review of D&T examinations at GCSE and A level. He says: “The developing of a single title GCSE for the subject should have happened back in 1990. But finally, we now have a chance to ensure that the subject is encouraged to develop and meet those original and worthy aims developed when D&T was first created”. He goes on to say that: "Although D&T continues to face many challenges to its development, the new GCSE provides the best opportunity we have had for years to move it forward. If we fail to grasp this, it will be at our peril. That said I remain highly optimistic about the potential for our continually evolving subject, particularly with the support provided by the Association and its all-important membership".

Andy is well known to many in the community - not least in the capacity of developing and running courses of professional development. We calculated that in 2015 alone, he addressed over 2,000 teachers at various events mainly in England. In addition, he has represented the Association at conferences overseas. More recently he has secured a role for the D&T Association in supporting the development of D&T in Shanghai, where we now have members and schools using D&T Association resources.

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