Subject Knowledge in D&T Teacher Education

Exploring the gaps


  • Karen Fuller Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Torben Steeg MMU, BCU, TSCR


ITE, Subject Knowledge, Curriculum Development


Determining the key subject knowledge that should underpin D&T Teacher education in England has never been easy. The fundamental range of the subject (with a scope of materials that includes food, textiles, engineered materials, computational systems… used to design and make products across a limitless extent of context), continuing developments in many of the technologies that underpin it, the breadth of experience that entrants to D&T teaching bring with them, the heterogeneity of approaches to D&T subject matter in schools (including the move in many English schools to teaching some of the above areas, especially textiles, through Art & Design) and ever changing statutory and examination requirements all have their influence. In the past the D&T Association (2003) has provided guidance, but, as noted by Martin as long ago as 2008, this guidance has lost relevance as the landscape has changed.

There are, of course, in addition to all the above, broader debates that are current about the role of subject knowledge in school education, and these have led to various explorations about how the fundamentals of subject knowledge in D&T should be constructed.

In this paper we describe the way that subject knowledge content in our PGCE D&T curriculum has been, and still is, evolving in response to these diverse and not always complementary forces. Underpinning this, using survey data from past and present ITE students and placement schools, we explore how the subject knowledge content of our PGCE course matches with the needs of our students and the curricula of their placement and first teaching schools.

We end by suggesting possible avenues of development for D&T ITE subject knowledge in the English context, and draw out some principles for building a relevant and robust subject knowledge base for teacher education in D&T.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Fuller, K., & Steeg, T. (2023). Subject Knowledge in D&T Teacher Education: Exploring the gaps. The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference Proceedings 2023, 1(October). Retrieved from