Update on the Association’s coordinating role with NHS PPE

Published 6th April 2020

At the end of last week, I reported that the Association, following many requests from teachers nationally and internationally (Brunei, France and Holland amongst others), has been working with the Royal Society and RAEng, to approach the government to officially sanction the work taking place in design and technology departments across the country. We received notification on Friday afternoon that our request had been passed to government officials; at the time of writing (4.50 pm Monday), we are still waiting for an official response.

In the meantime, over the course of the weekend, we have spoken with several organisations involved in the production of PPE equipment, specifically 3D Crowd who have launched a GoFundMe page here. This organisation is working with schools nationally, has arrangements with DHL and PPD to assist logistics and has working relationships with many NHS Trusts.

We are advising teachers who do not have an established route to front line clinicians to sign up with 3D Crowd through this website https://www.3dcrowd.uk/ If you scroll to the bottom of the site to ‘3D Printing of face shields’ and sign up as a volunteer, teachers can join a local area network. On joining, a regional coordinator can see you and will be in contact to assist you in getting shields from your school to the nearest place of need.

Many schoolteachers and leaders stated that they wanted their school to get involved but did not see how they could comply with the CLEAPSS guidance issued last week. We have today worked closely with our friends at CLEAPSS, and as a result, a new set of guidance was released today.  We believe that this guidance will allow more schools to involve themselves in the movement to get PPE where it is so badly needed.

As for the need, this remains great, with 3D Crowd attempting to meet orders for almost 37,000 shields by this Friday. I should stress that we are all involved in this as a temporary fix to get the equipment where it is most needed until the government supply chain can manage the hugely increased demand; once feedback tells us that this is no longer required, we will stand down.

We should be in a position to recommend 3 or 4 tried and tested different patterns and designs for face shields by tomorrow. We have today liaised online with teachers who have been mass-producing their design for some time and have received feedback from users allowing their designs to iterate and improve (after all, that’s what we do)!

Finally, we are pressing the government to assist us in setting up a supply chain to allow schools to easily order fresh materials to allow ongoing or increased levels of production.

In the meantime, please keep up the fantastic work that you are doing in departments across the globe. You are an inspiration, and we will do all that we can to support you in the coming days and weeks.

Tony Ryan
Chief Executive Officer
Design and Technology Association


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