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Introducing the Textile Skills Centre
Evolving Education Strategies

Dawn Foxall (Textiles Skills Academy) 25 January 2021

2020 saw many changes in how we work, learn, teach and socialise. Our constantly evolving needs, behaviours and environment have meant developing new ways of teaching and learning and new coping strategies. The Textiles Skills Academy has likewise, developed new ways of delivering training and supporting textile teachers, with online courses, live chats and Q&A opportunities for teachers to learn new skills, discuss their needs and requirements and share resources.

More recently we have put together a team of like-minded education and industry experts and practitioners to further our aims and objectives. We have created the ‘Textile Skills Centre’ as an umbrella organisation, to support our endeavours and develop programmes, resources and campaigns to deliver these ambitions.

The main aims of Textile Skills Centre are:

  • Provide affordable access to textile skills training for all.
  • Provide opportunities to encourage textile craft skills and activities, as a means to support mental health.
  • Provide and promote unbiased and accurate information to support curriculum development and innovation.
  • Support textile teachers (including student teachers) and technicians, through mentorship opportunities and exchange best practice nationally and internationally.
  • Support teachers and schools to develop and/or enhance textiles teaching, through training and events.
  • Develop and encourage relationships between education and industry.

Textiles Skills Academy workshops

Within the Textile Teachers Centre Facebook Group, we set up a Mentorship programme, which has seen many teachers supporting and being supported through 1-to-1 mentoring.  This is an area we feel is of huge importance and hope to develop this further.

One of the more urgent needs we have discussed, is the mental wellbeing of both teachers and students at this current time, which has been highlighted by teachers and trainers. Throughout this long difficult year, we have seen the resilience of our teachers and students stretched to its limits. Like an elastic band they have sprung back to continue their incredibly difficult work of teaching and learning in an ever-changing environment.
How long can they continue this capacity to recover quickly and continue during these shifting circumstances and instability?

It is understood that, with a wide repertoire of coping skills, such as stress reduction skills, self-worth and confidence, teachers and students are able to cope more effectively and are better prepared to overcome life’s challenges, such as those we have been experiencing. It is therefore imperative that leaders and management grasp the urgent importance of supporting both their staff and students with their mental wellbeing.

The Textile Skills Centre is currently working on a programme of support, with mindfulness experts, for Textile/Art and D&T teachers. The aim is to give teachers the skills, tools and resources for recognising signs of anxiety and be able to use mindfulness to teach students coping mechanisms.

We will be posting information and updates on the Textiles Skills Academy website and in the Textile Teachers Centre Facebook group.