The draft programme of study for Design and Technology (D&T), 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 well-publicised skills gaps facing these industries.
The draft curriculum lacks academic or technical rigour, challenge or ambition. It will fail to inspire or equip talented young people to pursue careers in design, technology, manufacturing, engineering, fashion or the many other thriving sectors.
D&T 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 raise their attainment.
D&T provides an essential foundation for further or higher level study and a wide range of vocational qualifications and apprenticeships. It is an enabling subject, which expands and enhances other core subjects – it should be challenging. Yet the draft D&T curriculum is neither rigorous nor challenging. It undermines D&T as a route into further and higher education for talented students by failing to provide the skills they need. It will result in the under-selling of 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 April 16.
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.
You can find a copy of the draft Design and Technology programme of study on the Department for Education website: http://www.education.gov.uk/.