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Foster + Partners Teachers in Residence Webinar

D&T teachers across the country had the opportunity to join our online webinar with Blueprint 1000 member, Architectural firm, Foster + Partners. The webinar included introductions by Design & Technology Association CEO Tony Ryan and Foster + Partners Education Manager Peter Garstecki, followed by testimonials from teachers who have participated in the Teachers in Residence programme which included; Josephine MaddenJosiah EdunMatthew FawcettElaine CarollAmy Clegg, and Antoinette Kodi Pecku

Peter provided an overview of the global organisation, Foster + Partners, highlighting its diverse portfolio of projects.

Teachers who took part in the programme outlined how the immersive experience benefitted them and taught valuable skills, highlighting an array of career routes for students. They explained how the week-long placement introduced them to various aspects of architecture, urban design, and engineering. From exploring the intricacies of material science to understanding the nuances of architectural modelling, teachers were exposed to a wealth of knowledgeable experts in their fields.

Throughout the programme, teachers gained firsthand experience of design philosophy, witnessing architects collaborating with engineers, designers, and researchers to bring visionary projects to life.

For Josephine, one of the participants, the programme offered valuable insights into the career pathways within the architectural sector. From façade access specialists to industrial designers, she discovered career options that transcended conventional notions of architecture.

Josiah echoed similar sentiments, emphasising the importance of creativity and cross-disciplinary learning in preparing students for future careers. Using industry insights gained, teachers like Josiah have been able to enrich their teaching methodologies.

Matthew shared his journey of expanding his expertise from catering to engineering over his 15-year teaching career. His interest in developing engineering knowledge led him to the initiative, where he gained insights into material science and its applications in construction. Matthew’s takeaway included integrating real-world industry practices into his teaching, enriching students’ learning.

For Elaine, a qualified careers advisor, the programme opened doors to new career possibilities for the students. By showcasing the diverse roles within architectural practices like Foster + Partners, Elaine has been able to encourage students to explore unconventional career pathways and embrace their passion for Design and Technology.

Amy is relatively new to the teaching profession. With degrees from Goldsmiths and Cambridge, Amy’s interdisciplinary approach to education aligns with her belief that design should transcend traditional specialisms. She highlighted the importance of fostering critical thinking and articulation skills in students, drawing inspiration from the sociological discussions and material research conducted during her placement at Foster + Partners. She demonstrated the value of incorporating real-world industry practices into the classroom to cultivate students’ problem-solving abilities and prepare them for future challenges in the design field.

Antoinette (Toni) gained insights from industry professionals at Foster + Partners and, like other participants, was also particularly inspired by their interdisciplinary approach. This led her to integrate open-ended questions into her teaching, fostering critical thinking among students. Witnessing the seamless collaboration among different departments reinforced the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork. Toni found it heartening to see foundational skills like model-making applied in real-life situations.

Our CEO Tony Ryan remarked, “Our objective with this initiative is to provide opportunities for teachers to immerse themselves in industry practice, allowing each teacher to take real experiences and stories back to help inform their teaching. I was blown away by the depth of impact from the six teachers on this webinar, each explaining how the ‘Teachers in Residence’ experience had allowed them to reflect and adapt their own practice in school, validating much of what they already teach and allowing them to confidently approach new topics. One teacher recently described their experience as “the best CPD I have ever had”; it doesn’t get much better than that!”

The teachers returned to their classrooms armed with newfound knowledge and perspectives gained from the experience. This initiative has been successfully rolled out in various companies with the aim of bridging the gap between education and industry. We will be offering further Teachers in Residence placements in the summer at Foster + Partners. These are free to attend and available for both members and non-members of the Association. To find out more email: