I would like to talk to an experienced Design and Technology teacher living and working here in the UK for a few minutes. Ideally two, one male and one female. If that’s you, please leave a comment which automatically gives me your email and I will email you in private.




  1. Kelly on 22 September 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I’d be happy to help you any way I can, Paul!

  2. Jon on 22 September 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I am happy to help if I can

  3. Matt on 23 September 2018 at 11:12 pm

    It seems you have all the help you need but If you need another DT teacher just let me know!

  4. ben norton on 24 September 2018 at 9:08 am

    Help if I can Paul – I’m a Technician at a Boys Grammar School in Kent. Looking to qualify next year for teaching

  5. Andy Pugh on 24 September 2018 at 1:55 pm

    The Head of technology at The Norton Knatchbull School, a boys grammar school in Ashford, Kent is female and leads a predominantly female team. I can put you in touch if you like or you can access her contact details from the school website.

  6. Terry Dixon on 24 September 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m a D.T teacher who started as a woodwork teacher and ‘re-skilled’ as the D.T. movement gathered pace in the late 70s and then with the introduction of the National Curriculum (with all the disruption and lost opportunities that caused) in the mid 80s.

    I finally retired 10 years ago but have worked as a supply teacher in D.T. ever since and love most of it – but I have seen some awful developments and curricula – believe me there is some bad practice out there. I’ve worked in a number of schools and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.


  7. Ilyas on 24 September 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Paul, I’m also a DT teacher here, I sent you a picture around two years ago of my signed copy of your book my two mentors at university where I trained to teach gave me when they met you at Harrogate.

    You mentioned me in your blog a few days later- I’m the one who started traditional woodworking through your videos in a self made shed on my allotment.

    Any way I can help I would be glad to.


  8. Matthew Deshon on 24 September 2018 at 11:00 pm

    I’d be interested in knowing more about the UK design technology processes and curriculum.
    I’m an Australian but my wife would like to return to the UK and having a conversation with design technology teachers would be wonderful.

    If I can offer help from across the world I’d be happy to try to offer assistance.

    • Paul Sellers on 25 September 2018 at 8:27 am

      This you do not want! D&T is the poorest substitute for skill building and poorly backed. Don’t suffer under the illusion that the UK has some kind of inherited wealth to design and technology from its industrial past. British economists and politicians sold out the workforce of Britain to clean up its own backyard (Sheffield mainly) and buy in cheap of the backs of what people refer to as globalised economies which means cheap labour elsewhere. It in no way prepares children for an adult world, only to get them pumped through university mostly which is also factored as an economic strategy where almost all graduates end up with a £30,000 debt for something 90% of them never needed ion the first place but couldn’t move without because the university has now strategically placed itself as the filtering system through which would-be employers syphon off those they want to employ– generally speaking.

      The D&T teachers I have taught have specifically told me they had never picked up a hand tool in their training and knew nothing of how even the simplest tools worked. That’s about a dozen D&T teachers to date. They were begging me to try to reach out to work with more D&T teachers so that they could help children but the reality is they cannot teach what’s not in the curriculum and skill is not taught in schools.

      • John2v on 26 September 2018 at 9:37 am

        Paul you have set yourself a massive uphill task and I strongly believe in your ambition.
        A friend of mine having been a really excellent woodwork teacher just gave up, took the money and retired, such a terrible waste.
        You describe as it is so well, I do not have your ability.
        I have tried to get my 15 yr Grandson (Harry) to my workshop, my son says “Dad it’s all old hat, times have moved on, it’s now all about DT using computers etc”
        Following your request I have a good mind to go to his school in Gravesend Kent and speak to his teacher. I know from what Harry has told me she is trying to teach woodwork, might be pleased to speak to you.


        • Paul Sellers on 26 September 2018 at 10:00 am

          Well it is what it is and dare I say it is most unlikely to change as long as teachers believe they know what they definitely DO NOT know or do know but cannot teach the elements they would love to teach. I saw it begin 40 years ago when they tried to even out certain biases that fostered disparity and at the same time came up against the ever-advancing and dare I say highly invasive millennial technologies.
          I need to just accept the fact the Design and Technology no longer fosters creativity and art in craft skills. It is basically used as a vehicle for programming children in readiness for adulthood in a workforce and little more.
          As we see the arts diminishing we see young people exiting school with altogether heightened standards in computer knowledge combined with the related technology and then on the other hand diminished expectations for skilled hand work. It is only a matter of time when everything relies on and consists in Artificial Intelligence and robotics and crafts gone in two generations. On the other hand my work, and I have worked alone in this as a counter culture for three decades mostly, is to equip those who slipped through the net to discover they had a penchant to learn and master skilled practices.
          Am I winning? For the sphere I am working within, yes, I believe I am winning. Whereas others may now teach many of the things that I do, mostly it is with a very different heart and done for very different reasons. My quest is and has always been the preservation and conservation of my craft in the lives of all people who discover that they want it. Simple!

          • Matthew Deshon on 1 October 2018 at 10:31 pm

            Paul, I work in a very, very different curriculum. I have noticed a difference between Australia and the UK and it’s quite stark. I prefer how Australia has set up its teaching curriculum

            We build things here. we come to terms with material understanding and send kids home with a project. It might only be a folding stool but it has been made by their hands using a combination of “modern” and “traditional” techniques.

            Paul, your level of understanding regarding your skills is why I aspire to have a greater understanding of these skills.

            I have a Cert 1 in Construction (to start to teach construction in school, to start a trade), will start a Cert 2 in engineering pathways (again to teach the start of a metal working trade).

            computers are useless unless we know how to make a desk to work on.

      • Matthew Deshon on 1 October 2018 at 10:48 pm

        Morning Paul,
        My wife is from Stoke-on-Trent and wants to come home for awhile to be closer to her family.
        Design Tech teachers in Australia are generally trained on tools or have a trade qualification prior to training as a teacher.

        Australia I guess is lucky to have a need for “skilled” workers in both “white” and “blue” collar areas.

        I love my tools and use them. I do a lot of machine (not CNC) work and practice with hand tools as much as I can when I can do it. I love my quality (Veritas, Pfeil) hand tools and work to understand and use these tools. my issue is what do I bring with me when (if) we move?
        I can’t bring my bench but I can build a new one, my power tools are what I will miss most.

        There is a big difference in Digital Technology and Built Technology. From what I can tell, the UK rolls these together.

        I have made some furniture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcgmgNq6Lgk&t=8s) and want to make more. I do make more with students as it’s my job.

        Paul, I want half of your skills and I would be happy. If I was to come to the UK, I’d take a class with you just for some knowledge transfer and personal tuition from you.

  9. Daniel Cooper on 27 September 2018 at 12:04 am

    Hi Paul. I’m a DT teacher working in a custodial setting with young offenders. I’m happy to help in any way.

  10. Tim on 28 September 2018 at 11:32 am

    Hi Paul,
    Might be a bit late but I am a trained boat builder who spent the better part of a decade working as a Technician in three Design & Technology departments in separate areas of the UK, including in a special-needs school. As a non-teacher and someone who did a “proper” apprenticeship, I may be able to offer you alternative insight on questions you may have. I’m currently just starting a foundation degree in Furniture Design & Making too, for a multitude of reasons but mostly because I want to expand on my existing skill-set, especially within the sphere of design.
    If I can be of any use, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
    Best regards, Tim

    • Paul Sellers on 28 September 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Tim and all others offering to give me insight and help in this problematic help. What is difficult is to get to those hidden entities who actually determine what the needs are in the national curriculum for a one-size-fits-all set policy to dumb everything down to the lowest common denominator which is probably a group of people who know nothing about craft and art because they too were programmed to think only one way. I am still mulling things around in my mind but will keep the list close to hand.

      • Tim on 28 September 2018 at 3:30 pm

        I love the comment about those who were programmed to only think one way. In my (limited) experience and knowledge of those “hidden entities”, they are, as you may have suspected a group of quangos, committees and “think-tanks”. People with limited knowledge of the subject and even less experience with it. Again, I speak from my own experience (of working in three separate DT departments, in three separate schools, the first being 2500+ pupils, the second being just shy of 1000 pupils and the third being a highly specialised special-needs school of ~100 pupils), the modern teacher of DT is generally speaking from an Art, or possibly design background in so much as that was what their degree was in. They then did their PGCE and went directly into teaching. They have limited knowledge of what you and I would know as wood working and certainly no experience in an industrial setting. What they know about machining has been taught to them either as part of their PGCE or occasionally at University. Increasingly it is what they have been taught on a one or two-day course held by the likes of DATA (The Design and Technology Association – data.org) or CLEAPSS. Their hand-tool wood-working skills can range from mediocre to virtually non-existent. There are still a number of former carpenters/joiners/old-school woodwork teachers out there but they are very much a dying breed. Just a few thoughts for you! Best, Tim.

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