ACE Academy Case Study

Details of the school's project, carried out as part of the Skills Gap pilot programme

ACE Academy Case Study

ACE Academy and Alucast, West Midlands were part of the initial pilot programme launched in October 2013 and completed in May 2014.

 “It was a steep learning curve.   Both the students and I have developed new skills.    Through the project we encountered real design problems which were challenging but positive and beneficial for the pupils.”  - Graham Williams, D&T teacher at ACE Academy

ACE Academy teachers’ skills development focused on manufacturing in quantity, quality control procedures and  iterative design processes.  Working with Alucast, the school developed a project, delivered to Y9 pupils, to design and cast a candle-holder with placemats as a table centre-piece, using aluminium and other metals in school. The project also aimed to develop students’ skills in problem-solving, independent enquiry and self-management.


Lead teacher reported:

  • high level of knowledge and skill in the key focus areas through delivering the project
  • increased skills in creative lesson planning linked to curriculum & business needs; giving careers advice 
  • benefits  including developing new skills and renewed enthusiasm  to create new projects

 “It was good to develop a relationship  with business and they were very  supportive - brilliant.”


Pupils’ surveys showed:

  • 75% found project interesting
  • 80% have used new skills
  • 80% enjoyed working with business
  • 80% enjoy studying D&T

 “I have really enjoyed this topic.”


Business coaches reported:

  • learning new skills in both coaching and working with young people
  • increased understanding of how D&T is taught in schools
  • developing connection with the local school

 “Really enjoyed working with the pupils  and especially their visit to the factory”

Note: 1 D&T teacher led the project; 20 pupils were surveyed; 4 business coaches provided feedback.

See the teaching resources, created through the project - Manufacturing in Quantity