Gordon Warren Obituary

Published 18th December 2020

We were saddened to hear earlier this week of the death of Gordon Warren. Gordon was the man whose vision and drive resulted in the creation of the Design and Technology Association. An experienced HMI and from everything that I have heard this week, a man deeply rooted in the subject and its value to students and society.

I sadly never met Gordon but hearing this week about the work that he led to start the Association, and with everyone emailing us talking about his dry wit and Welsh ‘twinkle of the eye’ I feel that is very much to my regret.

Gordon created something extraordinary when he helped to create the Association, and I am humbled to follow in his footsteps as I lead us to the next stage in the subjects’ development. Rest well!

Tony Ryan CEO Design and Technology Association


Gordon first and foremost was a very proud Welshman and a great advocate for Design and Technology. He became an HMI in Wales at the very young age of 35 in 1965. He worked as an HMI until he retired in 1988. He saw 1988 as a critical point in his distinguished career with Design and Technology being part of the National Curriculum. As an HMI he was highly respected by teachers for his depth knowledge and understanding of the subject and for his dry, but wonderful sense of humour. Many outstanding teachers benefitted from his guidance and became local authority advisers and helped to take the subject forward.

One of his key tasks as HMI was to Chair the Assessment and Performance Design and Technology steering group. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Gordon joined the many teachers, advisers and HMI on the famous Loughborough Summer Schools which helped create some outstanding teachers in the subject. On retirement, Gordon was perplexed by the many small organisations that supported design and technology but with no unifying subject association. The Smallpeice Trust commission Gordon to find a way forward and on the 5th October 1989 at the RSA his proposal to create DATA was unanimously approved, and a grant of £125,000 from Smallpeice was awarded. Gordon was DATA’s first Director when it started in November 1989 in Leamington Spa moving to Wellesbourne House in 1992. Gordon retired in 1993.

In November 1999 DATA celebrated its 10th Anniversary and this coincided with the launch of the DATA annual awards scheme. That night five awards were made for their outstanding contribution to Design and Technology, Gordon was rightly one of the recipients that evening. Gordon died aged 91 in December 2020 after partially recovering from Covid.

Andy Breckon
CEO DATA 1995-2002

“I only met Gordon on two occasions but remember his wisdom about the subject, his gentlemanly manner and his Welsh lilt!”

Richard Green 
CEO The Design and Technology Association 2003-2017


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