Seeking best in design excellence

Design & Technology Association teams up with Brompton, SeymourPowell and other designers to launch new Cycling Design Challenge

The Design & Technology Association, the UK’s only professional association for all those involved in design and technology education, has today announced the launch of a new a and exciting design competition for schools: The Great British Make Off.

The competition challenges students aged between 11 and 14 (Key Stage 3) to create design concepts with the potential to transform Britain’s latest sporting passion: cycling.

Entries will be judged by a panel comprised of experts from leading design companies including:

  • Brompton – British creators of one of the world’s most successful fold-up bikes
  • Rapha – The world’s finest cycling clothing and accessories brand and supplier to the hugely successful Team Sky
  • Blaze – Innovators of laser bike lights that are set to revolutionise cycling safety
  • SeymourPowell – One of the world’s leading design and innovation businesses

The lucky winners will earn the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a day at the design headquarters of judging panel organisations to refine and develop their design concepts. The winning ideas will subsequently be unveiled at an event hosted by the Design & Technology Association at a London venue. 

Richard Green, chief executive of the D&T Association, commented: “Recently, the D&T Association lead the development of the new and challenging D&T national curriculum which has been introduced in primary and secondary schools this month. D&T has to be seen as a vital part of 21st century education in the UK. We are now determined to build on this success and ensure the future of the UK as a centre of excellence for design & technology education. 

“Through the Great British Make Off we want to inspire teachers and students alike through the creative and practical possibilities design & technology education holds. This competition provides schools with a compelling way to get students to consider how they can improve the designed and made world in new and creative ways.”

Dick Powell, co-founder and design director at SeymourPowell, commented: “Design and technology is absolutely fundamental to the growth of UK plc but at present we are not seeing enough students coming through schools to take their place in industry. We therefore urgently need schools and governments to do all they can to inspire children into careers in the technical and creative industries.

‘In that vein, we welcome the Great British Make Off from the D&T Association as an excellent platform for engaging the next generation of designers and we very much look forward to reviewing the entries.”

Participating students are required to create a two minute video presenting their cycling design ideas across one or more of four design and technology disciplines: textiles; product design; systems and control; and food technology. Schools have until 24th October to submit their entries and students can enter either as a team, or as individuals.

For teachers looking to register their school for the competition, full details can be found at From today, teachers will be able to access teaching resources, lesson plans, the competition brief, judging criteria and promotional materials to help them inspire their students.

Richard Green concluded: ““The sport of cycling offers the perfect design challenge. The exploits of Team GB, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have inspired people to take to their bikes and the UK has seen a 20 per cent increase in total miles cycled each year between 1998 and 2013[1]. From bag design and cycle safety to food science and aerodynamics there is a huge array of design challenges for students to address in the Great British Make Off. With over 600 schools having already applied we believe there will be some superb design concepts to come from the competition – we cannot wait to see what they come up with.”

The Design and Technology Association is the professional body which represents and supports design and technology teachers in primary and secondary education across the UK.

[1] Source: CTC