Education, Skills and the next generation of Designers

Published 9th May 2018

Education, Skills and the Next Generation of Designers

Discussion held on Wednesday 16th May 2018 at House of Commons

An event by the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, D&T Association and Design Business Association - Chaired by John Howell MP: Member of Parliament for Henley and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group

'A roundtable discussion on the present state of design education in secondary schools, universities and the impact that it is having on the design industry'

The discussion brought together 18 leaders from across the sector to discuss three broad areas regarding how design and technology is taught in schools, how schools can work more closely with universities and businesses to ensure that young people are entering the job market with the right skills, and the wider benefits of design education on the wider economy.

It was a wide-ranging and focused discussion within which the main challenges facing D&T in schools were clear to all these being:

  • The EBacc effect (resulting in the almost accidental decline in the Arts subjects and D&T in schools)
  • The perception that D&T is an expensive subject to deliver effectively in a time of continued school austerity
  • The negative effect on the subject of Progress 8 and the school accountability structures
  • A severe lack of suitably qualified teachers and the continued decline in ITT places and take up nationally
  • A lack of widely agreed clarity on the importance and very nature of the subject 

The group unanimously agreed on the need to change perceptions around the subject, and it was suggested that there were three areas of work to be tackled:

  • Conceptual - Information and a shared agreement of what the subject actually is and its value as part of a balanced curriculum offer
  • Programmatic - The act of getting on and doing...bringing a greater degree of direction and consistency to D&T teaching nationally
  • Structural - Assisting policymakers at DCMS, DfE, DTI and others to understand the systematic opportunities that we are denying students and how cutting off this stream of inspiration can be detrimental to the skill sets acquired by students, to the economy and to students state of well being


The meeting closed with an agreed set of actions to follow on from this discussion; more detail will be provided on these in due course

Round-table Attendee List

John Howell MP (Chair) -  Chair, APDIG House of Commons

David Anderson-  Headteacher Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Faversham

Andrew Churchill - Managing Director of JJ Churchill Ltd

Jason Simeon - Head of Learning and Change Management at Leonardo MW Ltd

Julia Bennett - Research and Policy Manager Crafts Council

Guy Bilgorri - Senior Policy Advisor Design Council

Eileen Budd - Project Manager V&A Institute

Mark Burey - Head of External Relations University of the Arts London

Helen Charman - Director of Learning and National Programmes, Victoria and Albert Museum

Deborah Dawton - Chief Executive Design Business Association

Nick de Leon - Head of Service Design Royal College of Art

Adam Fennelow - Head of Services Design Business Association

David McGravie - Head of School of Arts University of Derby

Tony Ryan - Chief Executive Design and Technology Association

Andy Thompson - Director of Design Technology and Engineering, Highgate school, London

Jack Tindale - Manager, Design and Innovation Policy Connect

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