D&T curriculum at risk

Posted on 15 Feb 2013 by The Manufacturer

New plans for Design and Technology in schools will undermine the promotion of engineering and manufacturing careers says Richard Green, CEO, The Design and Technology Association.


You can find a copy of the draft Design and Technology programme of study on the Department for Education website: www.education.gov.uk

Dear Madam,

We believe that the draft programme of study for Design and Technology, published by the Department for Education on Thursday February 7, threatens the future supply of vital skills to a wide range of manufacturing sectors and will exacerbate the well-publicised skills gaps facing these industries.

The draft curriculum lacks academic or technical rigour, challenge or ambition and will fail to inspire or equip talented young people to pursue careers in design, technology, manufacturing, engineering, fashion or the many other thriving sectors.

The recent CBI First steps report, published in November, raised serious concerns about what it called the “long tail of under-achievement” in our schools and the waste of talent that this represents.

Design and Technology offers a unique environment in which to engage students of all abilities in practical and applied maths, science and engineering, helping to raise their academic attainment.

Unfortunately this draft curriculum with its focus on basic craft and maintenance skills will do nothing to engage students or to raise their attainment.

Design and Technology also provides an essential foundation for further or higher level study and a wide range of vocational qualifications and apprenticeships. It is what the the CBI report identified as an “enabling subject”. One which can expand and enhance the core subjects and enable young people to move on either to university, or to an apprenticeship or vocational qualification. The report made clear that enabling subjects should be rigorous and challenging.

Unfortunately this draft Design and Technology curriculum is neither rigorous nor challenging and will undermine the route into further and higher education for talented students by failing to provide the skills they need and under-selling design, engineering, manufacturing and technology as career choices.

Fortunately this misguided draft Design and Technology curriculum is not a foregone conclusion. It is open for consultation until 16 April 2013. We must take this opportunity to replace this draft curriculum with a forward looking, high quality, world class, and rigorous design and technology education.

We urge all readers to write to their local MPs expressing their concern over this draft curriculum. We would also encourage them to join the debate on our forum at http://www.believeindandt.org.uk/ and contact the Department for Education directly by writing to: Elizabeth Truss, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education, Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT.

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