Government U-turns again – this time over ‘dumbed-down’ design teaching

The Government is set to backtrack on controversial plans for a new ‘dumbed-down’ design curriculum at schools, according to reports.

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Source: Regional Cabinet

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Critics including Sir James Dyson, the Design Council and the D&T Association had slammed the proposed curriculum as ‘a huge backwards step’ due to its broad definition of design, which would have seen pupils taught cooking and horticultural skills as part of the D&T programme.

Now the Daily Telegraph is reporting that the proposals could be scrapped, with the Department for Education admitting that the initial curriculum had been ‘dumbed down’.

This backtracking follows an earlier DfE U-turn over plans to drop design altogether from the National Curriculum.

Following a series of protests, plans for the controversial English Baccalaureate Certificate, which would have replaced GCSEs, were pulled by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

However, at the same time as scrapping the EBC plans, Gove unveiled the proposed design curriculum, which was roundly attacked by design industry figures during its consultation period, which ran until 16 April.

Sir James Dyson said, ‘This new curriculum will not inspire the invention and engineers Britain so desperately needs.

‘Life skills such as how to grill a tomato and what to do if your bike chain falls off take pride of place. Gardening has become a key component in a subject that should contextualise science and maths in a practical format.’

The Design Council described the proposals as ‘potentially retrograde’, while the D&T Association said they would ‘reinforce existing prejudices about creative and applied subjects’.

The Department for Education has not commented on the reports.

Latest articles