Bodies continue to back teacher training courses

Design industry bodies have launched their second scheme in three weeks to raise the standard of design education in schools.

Constructed by the Design Museum and funded by the Design Council and Rolls-Royce, the initiative features a series of “top-up courses” for Postgraduate Certificate of Education students and highlights the growing need for qualified design teachers.

Trainee design and technology teachers at 11 colleges will take part in a two-day training course, run by the education department at the Design Museum.

“The scheme is addressing the low level of skills among trainee teachers, many of whom have graduated from non-design-related university courses,” says Design Museum education manager Polly Palmer.

She says primary rather than secondary teachers are more likely to have read other subjects, but the course targets both. The scheme follows news last month of the Design Council initiative to encourage design graduates to teach the subject (DW 17 May).

Teacher trainers and representatives from the Department for Education and Employment and regulatory body Ofsted identified several areas in need of attention for the latest scheme.

These include the lack of specialist knowledge of design by primary school teachers, a shortage of university time devoted to design of teacher training courses and a lack of understanding of design by engineering graduates.

The scheme will begin in September. It was piloted in 2000 at the University of the West of England and Liverpool John Moore’s University.

Schools’ design and technology curriculums are short-changing students by not setting aside enough time to teach the basics of the subject, according to architectural education charity, London Open House.

It is developing a Design Council-funded programme, Unpacking Design, to address the problem, which is scheduled to start in autumn.

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