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Out-of-date teaching space

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by Thomiam, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Thomiam

    Thomiam New commenter

    Hi All

    I am about to move to a new school. My role will be head of Art & Design faculty. The head has made it clear he wants me to focus on the design technology department.

    The biggest barrier for the department is their teaching and learning space. The school was built in the 1960's and the technology department has never been updated. The rooms are old, dark and tired. The staff move between rooms to teach so they are all messy as no-one currently takes ownership of each room.

    I am currently writing a letter to the head and governors about the importance of having an up-to-date teaching space. I have some comments in there about pupil/staff moral, productivity, displays (there are currently none!), CAD/CAM, ownership, organisation, multifunctional rooms and storage etc but could do with some help with how to phase things to get their attention.

    Essentially I am asking them to spend a lot of their limited budget to bring the department into the 21st century so need to make sure my argument is solid. Any suggestions on what I should include would be gratefully appreciated!

    Thank you :)
  2. Andy Mitchell

    Andy Mitchell New commenter

    There are a whole range of things you need to do, but one is develop a plan. What you describe is not untypical and sadly, there are many departments around the country that have suffered from under investment and modernisation. This often (though I'm not implying this is the case here) is a consequence of poor leadership and vision on behalf of the subject leader. Development and possession of that vision is part of what a subject leader is paid for and it should be central to what they do. It sounds to me as though you have got off on the right foot and recognised that this needs a strategy. Undoubdtedly there will be some quick fixes to improve the situation ie put up some display, tidy up, splash of paint here na dthere but \I suspect that what is really needed is much more fundamental.

    Obviously I don't know what you experience is and your background. What ever that is, I would serious consider joining the D&T Association wht departmental membership - if you have not already done so. There are many benefits this will bring both short and long term but the most obvious that will eb of use straight away will be free access to the online Self Review Framework. This is a comprehensive tool that you work through with the department over a period of months, enabling you to arrive at an understanding of where the department is in terms of development and what the priorites are. One of the domains in environment. Have a look on our website https://www.data.org.uk/membership/member-benefits/self-review-framework/

    This isn't a sales pitch, I am just passionate about making sure that D&T provision is retained in schools at a time when in some schools, the subject is actually being removed! Of course if you join, then you can access lots of other support at a membership rate or free. We now have over 10,000 members of which a significant number are departmental. Most of these get their membership paid for from a budget outside of their departmental capitiaton and often CPD The advice and guidance it provides through its regular publications, website and news letters constitutes cheap CPD!

    Your are correct in that you will need to ask a lot fromthe limited budget but this does not have to come from one source only nor does it need to all come at once. I'm guessing that what you need to develop is at least a 5 year plan to achieve anything really worthwhile and secure the investment that will be necessary.

    Making reference to this in your letter will help show the head that you are thinking strategically and not simply asking for lots of resource. Senior leaders like this and in fact is why they appointed you - to lead. Investing a tools and support to help you in the brief that you have been set can only be seen as wise.

    Haivng done what you are about to do twice (albeit sometime ago) I can assure you that the most important aspect of what you do is planning.

    On the positive side, I am sure there will be a lot of things that will be good about the department and it is equally important at this stage to identify these and promote them.

    Hope this helps and good luck. If you join, then get in touch with me there and let me know.

    Thomiam likes this.
  3. Thomiam

    Thomiam New commenter

    Thank you Andy. This is very helpful. I have started putting together a long term plan so perhaps I will hold off sending my letter until my plan is complete and then I can attach it. I was a member of the D&T association early in my teaching career but sadly it is not something that I maintained. I think I need to become part of it again!

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