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Alison Hardy

Alison Hardy

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Secondary and Continuing Education Undergraduate and Professional Education


Alison is an Associate Professor (Teaching & Practice), writer, researcher, and podcaster. Alison's work centres on design and technology education and supporting writers.

Career overview

Alison joined NTU in 2010 as the course leader for the Undergraduate Teacher Training course for Secondary Design and Technology Education.

Between 2017 and 2022, she led the MA Education courses in the Nottingham Institute of Education.

Prior to working at NTU, Alison was a Director of Curriculum at Tresham College in Northamptonshire. This role included strategic responsibility for the 14-19 curriculum at the College and working with partnership schools in four East Midlands counties which included over thirty secondary schools.

Alison has worked in four secondary schools as a design and technology (D&T) teacher; in two of them she was the head of department for D&T. She has also worked at the University of West Bohemia in the Czech Republic.

Research areas

Alison’s primary research focuses on the values stakeholders attribute to different school subjects, and the effect this has on curriculum policy enactment. She has developed a subject-values framework that is used to analyse the origins and consequences of the values people attribute to school subjects.

Through her work she has researched the specific values attributed to design and technology education. Alongside this she has undertaken research into the use of technology-enhanced learning in schools and HE, including the innovative use of social media to support collaborative learning.

Alison is also researching strategies to help academics and doctoral students maintain and change their writing habits through the use of motivational interviews.

Current projects

Understanding the values attributed to school subjects and the relationships between the attributed values and pupils' engagement and motivations.

Exploring the future of design and technology education.

Using writing meetings as a support for PGRs and ECRs academic writing.

Current Doctoral Students

Malika Belmissoum, An investigation into the delivery of MA dissertation in relation to the pedagogy of research methods and supervision instructions.

Suzanne Gomersall, Evaluating the impact of teaching children practical cooking and nutrition skills on children’s attitudes and behaviour towards healthy eating. (Director of Studies)

Hayley Queen. Using virtual reality with Operating Department Practice students (Lead supervisor)

Claire Vickery, Exploring Teacher Perceptions about the Decline of D&T in Secondary School Contexts (Lead Supervisor)

Kim Western, Developing authentic academic assessment practices on Creative Technology courses. (Co-supervisor)

Previous Doctoral Students

Paballo Mokenela, Blended and Distance Learning Pedagogy in Higher Education:A Case Study of The National University of Lesotho.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil/PhD exist in Nottingham Institute of Education and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

External examining

University of LImerick (2022 - ongoing)

University of Glasgow

University of Roehampton

University of Brighton

University of Sunderland

Periodic Reviews

University of Hertforshire: MA Education framework

Editorial board

International Journal of Technology and Design Education

PATT40 Conference

Design and Technology Teacher Education

Researching Design and Technology


Design and Technology Education: An international journal

Pedagogy, Culture and Society

PRISM: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice

Teacher Education Advancement Network Journal

Consultancy and BespokeTraining

Harris Federation

St Paul's Academy, London

West Country Schools Trust

Learning and Skills Improvement Service

Trinity School, Newbury

Noel Baker School

Trustee for the Design and Technology Association

Member of the National Curriculum advisory group


Alison hosts the Talking D&T podcast, where she shares ideas, news and views about design and technology and interviews teachers and researchers from the design and technology community, including:

Redesigning D&T

Talking about the rise and fall of D&T with Professor David Spendlove

Ways of thinking about D&T curriculum

Does substantive and disciplinary knowledge work for D&T?

Do we all agree on the purpose of D&T?

Sponsors and collaborators


Dr Sarah Davies

Dr Matt McLain

Professor Rowena Murray

Dr Morag Thow

Dr Michelle Smith

Dr Gilian McLellan


Journal articles

HARDY, A., MURRAY, R., THOW, M. and SMITH, M. 2020. ‘So maybe I’m not such an imposter’: becoming an academic after a life as a teacher-practitioner, Higher Education Research & Development, DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2020.1835835

HARDY, A., 2018. Using design fiction to teach new and emerging technologies in England. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 78 (4), pp. 16-20. ISSN 2158-0502

HARDY, A., 2017. The consequence of school performance measures – inequality of access and opportunity. Race Equality Teaching, 34 (2), pp. 39-43. ISSN UCL IOE Press

HARDY, A., 2017. Defining the value of a school subject. PRISM: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice, 1 (2), pp. 55-82. ISSN 2514-5347

Edited books

HARDY, A. 2022. Debates in Design and Technology Education. (2nd ed.). Routledge

HARDY, A. 2021. Learning to Teach Design and Technology in the Secondary School (4th ed). Routledge

Book chapters

WAKEFIELD, D. and HARDY, A., 2022. Government policies and design and technology education. In: A. HARDY, ed., Debates in design and technology education. 2nd ed. Debates in Subject Teaching . Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780367763732

PRAJAPAT, B., SINCLAIR, R. and HARDY, A., 2022. How do we do race in design and technology?In: A. HARDY, ed., Debates in design and technology education. 2nd ed. Debates in Subject Teaching . Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780367763732

HARDY, A., 2017. How did the expert panel conclude that D&T should be moved to a basic curriculum? In: E. NORMAN and K. BAYNES, eds., Design epistemology and curriculum planning. Rothley: Loughborough Design Press, pp. 18-21. ISBN 9781909671157

Conference proceedings

HARDY, A., DUNN, A. and MORALES-VERDEJO, J., 2022. How do D&T teachers value design and technology education? In: D. GILL, J. TUFF, T. KENNEDY, S. PENDERGAST and S. JAMIL, eds., PATT 39: PATT on the Edge: Technology, Innovation and Education, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada 21-24 June 2022. Proceedings. Newfoundland: Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, pp. 38-48. ISBN 9780889015050

MCLAIN, M., SCHILLACI-ROWLAND, D., STABLES, K., HARDY, A. and RYAN, T., 2022.Researching design and technology education: educators views and experience. In: G. DAVID, T. JIM, K. THOMAS, P. SHAWN and J. SANA, eds., PATT 39: PATT on the Edge: Technology, Innovation and Education, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada 21-24 June 2022. Proceedings. Newfoundland: Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, pp. 205-212. ISBN 9780889015050

News articles

Design and technology reform: A hostile takeover disguised as philanthropy (March 2023)

Blog posts

Should I stay or should I go (from Twitter)? (November 2022)

Research capacity and engagement in Design & Technology education (August 2022)

MA Education: Dare to think differently (October 2020)

Schooling during lockdown – which subjects have benefitted? (July 2020)

Response to Amanda Speilman’s speech about creative subjects (July 2019)


Evaluating a framework to support academics with changing their writing behaviour (SRHE)

See all of Alison Hardy's publications...

Press expertise

  • Curriculum development and design
  • School subjects and policy implementation
  • Values in education
  • Design and technology epistemology
  • Supporting academic writing