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The fears that EBacc will squeeze Design and Technology out of the curriculum have never been so real!

Can you imagine a cohort of primary and secondary school students not doing art, music, drama, design and technology? This is the reality of what is happening within our schools today and we need to do something about it!

The All Party Design & Innovation Group (APDIG) panel discussion at Westminster yesterday was an eye-opener. Richard Green CE of Design & Technology Association, gave an impassioned opening statement clearly emphasising the urgency of action needed now to stop what could be a disaster for UK education. He was followed by Dr Elies Dekonink, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath Julia Bennett, Head of Policy, Crafts Council with equally questioning statements on what is happening.

The proceeding discussion was animated and heated at times with everyone in the room agreeing that with the main argument but no-one really putting forward any real solutions other than Universities needed to demand D&T as a subject A level as entry requirement for certain degrees such as Engineering and a stronger debate at Governmental level as to the priorities of the EBacc subjects.

The Government does in fact support D&T, recognising the importance to the British economy that design, innovation developing technologies contributes – we are known for it! Even the Chinese want what we have got and are soaking up our D&T teachers to teach in their universities! But in many British schools the subject is being marginalised with some schools dropping the subject altogether as it is expensive to resource and not part of EBacc subjects measured against Government accountability – English, Maths, Science, Language and humanities are what you want!

There is apparently a D&T teacher shortage with estimated 2000 teachers needed and yet there is an uneven level of incentives for PGCE students who, if they specialise in Science or Maths, can get £30k bursaries yet D&T students only get £12k.

And then there is job prospects – students aren’t choosing D&T specialism as concerned about whether ‘D&T is going to be in the curriculum in the future’. Sheffield Hallam University will apparently be the only University in England and Wales offering D&T specialist course from September 2016 with 14 students qualifying in 2017 in England and Wales!

What next?

Should D&T become an EBacc subject? Should universities demand D&T A-level for courses that need design, innovation, enquiry and solution finding such as Engineering, Fashion, Textiles, Graphics, Product Design etc?

There needs to be improved communication between Governmental departments such as BIZ and DfE.

Collaborations and incentives through Industry to encourage students to take up D&T – Industry already is doing this and yet there is no joined up thinking/action with Government Groups and Departments to co-ordinate.

Any ideas and thoughts on this can be posted here or email APDIG here:

Naomi Turner – Senior Manager, Manufacturing, Design and Innovation
naomi.turner@policyconnect.org.uk
020 7202 8588
@Naomi_Turner

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