“There is no education like adversity”

Published 29th April 2020

Quote by Benjamin Disraeli

As a taster for the new copy of D&T Practice, on its way to you now, please find the forward written by Tony Ryan, CEO, D&T Association. We hope you enjoy the latest edition of the magazine.

I sincerely hope that this edition of D&T Practice finds you and your family well and that you are bearing up under the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not need saying that this is a crisis the like that most of us have never experienced before.

I write this in our second week of remote working at the Association and with school closures now almost two weeks ago. We are all settling into new patterns, new routines and new ways of thinking.

The speed that this pandemic has fallen on us has caught the majority by surprise and the measures taken to manage the impact of the virus have not been seen by this country in times of peace. I am, as ever, in awe of the way that our profession has responded to the demands placed upon us: school leaders and teachers have gone the extra mile to minimise learning disruption and to ensure that each of their students are safe, cared for and adequately fed. At times such as these, it is more evident than it ever was to me that teaching is not just a career, it is a vocation, we all do what we do driven by a desire to make a positive difference.

The draw on the Association staff and resources over the last month has also been notable. We moved quickly to expedite the move, already underway before the crisis, to make the vast majority of our electronic resources ‘free for members’. I have now been in post a little over two years and from day one this was an objective for me. Once you join the Association, we want to work with you to make the delivery of our subject easier, better informed and fantastically resourced. This has obviously been well-received as resource downloads over the last three months have been at record levels.

We are working hard to update existing resources and create new ones where there are obvious gaps in curriculum coverage. Please do feel free to contact us at info@data.org.uk if you have noticed a gap in our coverage and want to make us aware.

For obvious reasons, professional development courses planned for venues across the country have had to be rescheduled for the autumn term. We have regretfully had to make the decision to cancel the design lectures scheduled for London earlier this month (Zoe Laughlin) http://zoelaughlin.com/ and later this summer in Manchester (Michael Omotosho) https://www.michaelomotosho.co.uk/. We will be rescheduling these lectures which are supported by our friends at the Edge Foundation so look out for them in the autumn term and will be a mixture of podcasts, videos and face to face lectures.

We have also decided to postpone our Summer School planned initially for Friday 3rd July at De Montford University, Leicester. We had to cancel this last year as teachers could not sanction or finance two days out of school in times of continued austerity; it appeared that the move to a one-day event packed with keynote speakers and hands-on workshops had excited the D&T community, and we will re-organise the summer school and come back stronger; watch this space!

We are currently working to finish the paper ‘The state of D&T’ started over eighteen months ago with partners the Royal Academy of Engineering. Our plans to launch in May are now on hold due to the pandemic, but we believe that we have a paper worthy of note and will be launching this later in the year, with calls for action for government, business/industry and school leaders.

We are also working hard to produce online CPD for teachers that can be taken at low cost from May onwards. We have consulted widely on this and teachers tell us that face-to-face remains their delivery method of choice; that said, we think that with remote working becoming a new normal, we can supplement face-to-face with online subject-specific learning and will be releasing modules for primary and secondary teachers in the coming months. Keep an eye on our website www.data.org.uk for details.


I would like to end this piece by commending D&T teachers nationally who have opened their workshops and used the specialist machinery, tools and their considerable level of expertise to produce protective shields and other items of safety equipment for the NHS, doctors’ surgeries and even supermarkets local to them. It is in times of crisis that society is forced to step back and look at what it needs to protect and value. We will get through this; life will go on and we will return to a version of normality. I hope that those in positions of power look carefully at what, and who played the most active roles in providing solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the country’s hour of need.

Stay safe!

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