16 April 2013
Proposed changes to the National Curriculum in England for Design and Technology lack the ambition needed to foster a future generation of engineers and technicians.
The warning, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), comes in a submission to the Department for Education’s National Curriculum consultation.
The IET says that, compared to the existing programme of study, the draft proposals appear to set significantly lower expectations for pupils. In particular, there seems to be an inappropriately high focus on practical and life skills at the expense of encouraging students to innovate, design, create, and build - which should be at the heart of the subject.
Paul Davies, IET Head of Policy, said: “The draft Design and Technology curriculum has lacked expert input, and as a result, does not provide the rigour and challenge consistent with the needs of today.
“We are concerned about the lack of emphasis of how Design and Technology relates to and is used in the creation of new technologies and modern manufacturing processes, which is very important to inspire students into strategically important related subjects such as engineering.
“Without this link, students will not be adequately prepared for career opportunities and the needs of employers and, more worryingly, this will exacerbate the technical skills shortage that the UK is currently facing.
“This is contradictory to the government’s attempts to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing industries.”