Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Bryan Nicholson, 1933-2012: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Bryan Nicholson, 1933-2012: News

Article excerpt

Bryan Nicholson was one of the pioneers of technology in schools. Working with other design and technology teachers, he helped to move the subject from the handicraft peripheries to the mainstream of the national curriculum.

He was born in North London in October 1933. Rejecting the family bookbinding business, teenage Bryan began an engineering apprenticeship. However, he had long been inspired by a teacher uncle and so, in 1960, he enrolled in teacher training college.

His first position was as metalwork teacher at St Audrey's secondary, in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield. From the start, he was meticulously organised and his lessons were carefully planned. But they were also fun: he taught pupils to assemble and then race go-karts. When Mr Nicholson smiled, his entire face lit up, wrinkles appearing around his eyes.

After several years as head of department at St Audrey's, he was appointed as Hertfordshire's first advisory teacher for craft, design and technology, later moving on to a similar role in the London borough of Hillingdon.

At the time, few design and technology teachers had degrees. But Mr Nicholson was keen to rectify what he saw as a gap in his own education. And so he enrolled on a sociology course at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

The influence of social background on people's lives fascinated him: he was a committed egalitarian. When, for example, he heard that a young colleague was being paid less than his due as head of department, Mr Nicholson campaigned for his pay rise. …

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