Proposals for teaching design in schools ‘not fit for the 21st century’

Following the Government’s U-turn on the controversial English Baccalaureate plans, concerns are now being raised about design’s status on the proposed new National Curriculum.

Sir James Dyson is among those who have criticised the proposals
Sir James Dyson is among those who have criticised the proposals

While both Art & Design and Design & Technology remain on the National Curriculum to Key Stage Three, critics say the proposed programmes of study ‘are not fit for the 21st century’.

The Design & Technology Association, which made recommendations on teaching D&T to Education Secretary Michael Gove, says ‘[We] believe that the draft programme of study… would seriously undermine 20 years of development in the subject.’

Writing in The Times today, Sir James Dyson says, ‘This new curriculum will not inspire the invention and engineers Britain so desperately needs. The academic rigour Mr Gove demanded in other core subjects is missing in D&T.’

The proposed curriculum’s broad definition of D&T has been particularly criticised. This will see pupils taught cooking and horticultural skills as part of the D&T programme.

Dyson says, ‘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.’

Joining the protests are pressure group #IncludeDesign, which campaigned over the EBacc proposals, and the Design Council.

They are calling on people to take part in the consultation process on the National Curriculum, which is open until 16 April.

The Design Council says, ‘We urge everyone to respond to the consultation on this potentially retrograde proposal for design in our schools.’

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