Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by M&S Archive.

This resource is part of a 'Fashion and Food' theme intended to provide a broad picture of product design, using selected items from the M&S Company Archive collection of clothing and food packaging images. The overall aim of the Fashion related resources is to show changing fashions throughout the history of the Company, changes in products over time and how this links to wider social history and world events.

Curriculum Links

  • KS3 Geography: Use of natural resources.
  • KS3 Design & Technology: Designing and Making 
  • KS2 PSHE:  Living in the Wider World (Rules)
  • KS3 PSHE: Health and Wellbeing

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding of how advances in technology affected the production, sale and dominance of school uniform throughout Britain
  • Knowledge of the style of advertising M&S used to create and capture the ‘new’ teenage fashion market
  • Skills of comparing and contrasting commonly accepted ideas of Schoolwear through the decades. 

Discussion and Activity Ideas


KS3 Citizenship: 

  • Do you think pupils should wear school uniform or not?
  • What are the main points for and against wearing school uniforms?
  • Look at the 1992 schoolwear advert. What do you think is meant by school shoes being a 'bone of contention between youngsters and parents'? Who do you think should decide what pupils wear at school - teachers, parents or children? 

KS3 Geography - Recycling:

  • Do you own any clothing that is made from recycled material? How else are you 'doing your bit' for the environment? 
  • What about your school - does it have a recycling policy? (see Supporting Links in 'Resources' for some ideas on how schools can recycle)

KS3 Literacy/KS3 English: 

  • Look at the 1968 Back to School magazine spread (see Resources) then read the full text in the PDF download
  • Who do you think the advert is aimed at, and why? Think about the use of language - who is the writer trying to persuade and how do they achieve this?
  • Choose a small section of the text and rewrite it, but this time aim the language at schoolchildren instead of adults. 


  • Look at the Junior Miss fashion advert from 1967.  What do you think is meant by ' the very special tastes...of the in-betweens'? 
  • What do you think are the good points and bad points of being a teenager? Use the Supporting Links in 'Resources' for ideas.
  • How would you describe teenage fashion today?
  • How far do you agree with this sentence: 'Life's a catwalk, even in the playground'?

KS3 Design & Technology: 

  • Imagine you had to design a new school bag for mass production. Make a list of all the things you have to take into account before deciding on which materials to use and how it should look.
  • Look at the different schoolwear images  and use the schoolwear timeline, then design a modern take on the school uniform using elements from each time period shown.  
    • How will your uniform be environmentally sustainable?
    • How will you make sure that it is tough enough to last?