Published 14th June 2019

The Design and Technology Association held a Corporate Partner and Friends network briefing on HMS Belfast to update supporters and remind everyone of the issues facing the subject. Keynote speaker Lord Baker of Dorking addressed the group with his views on ‘The Importance of technical education with an emphasis on D&T’, highlighting the dramatic effect that squeezing out subjects can have on employment. He spoke about the success of UTCs in providing valuable students for jobs in the STEM sector and the importance of getting D&T back in the mainstream curriculum.

While business and industry understand the issues and recognise the value of the subject in providing for skills shortages and helping to build a coherent industrial strategy, there are still difficulties in getting those in government to provide the support that D&T needs to flourish.

A paper is being written by the Association in partnership with RAEng, planning pathways and career destinations for D&T students and seeking to engage DfE, BEIS (Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Ofsted. It is planned to be published in the new year. The aims are to:

  • engage government
  • seek recognition as an academic subject worthy of a central place on the school curriculum for all students
  • seek funding to adequately train teachers to deliver the latest Design and Technology GCSE and A Level qualification (including a drive on initial teacher education numbers)
  • actively engage the support (financially and intellectually) of the business community

Some of the reasons D&T should survive and flourish are that:

  • There is a uniqueness to design and technology that makes it stand out in the school curriculum and provides all students with an experience, a knowledge bank and the development of a set of skills and attributes that cannot be delivered through other subjects.
  • Our subject requires students to truly connect and empathise with another person’s life, to gain an understanding of why a problem exists, just why that matters to the person concerned and through following an iterative process, allows students to develop design solutions that in their own small way, help to make the world a better place.
  • Where the subject is taught well, it takes students out of their intellectual and social ‘comfort zones’, encourages the transference of knowledge and skills picked up elsewhere on the curriculum and demonstrates that failure is rarely an end point, but is instead a necessary part of a longer journey to success.

This is the first of what we are planning to be a number of events aimed at increasing our corporate support and creating a louder noise from the business/industry sector in order to influence government policy and help to deliver the government’s ambitious industrial strategy.

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