Since the Government announced its review of the national curriculum in early January 2011, the design sector has been on tenterhooks to see what this means for the status of Design & Technology in schools.
We’ve been actively making the case for design in schools for some time. Notably through our work on the Restarting Britain campaign, our role on the Creative Industries Council and Skills sub-group, and our input into the Cultural Learning Alliance submission (Key principles for the arts and cultural learning within the National Curriculum) to the Department for Education. It's been great to see this work pay dividends - Design & Technology has now secured its place in the Primary National Curriculum and we expect an announcement on the Secondary National Curriculum this Autumn. However, we are still campaigning for a sixth pillar in the EBacc that will provide learners with an entitlement to study Design & Technology, Art & Design, Music or Drama.
Building on our work, we've put forward to Government a set of fundamental principles for Design & Technology in schools.
New fundamental principles for Design & Technology
We have developed a set of new fundamental principles, which we submitted to the Department for Education in June. We believe they should form the foundations of a revised Design & Technology curriculum – and that following these principles will transform the subject into the high status and rigorous discipline that it is in the professional sector. We’re really keen to get your views, please get in touch with Bel Reed our programme lead for education and skills with any feedback.
To develop a design literate society by
- Enabling children and young people to be critical consumers, users, commissioners and creators of design.
- Helping them attain an understanding of the world through promotion of critiquing skills and knowledge of the key contexts for design (for example, socio-cultural, historical, economic, technological, environmental, health, emotional and industrial).
- Demonstrating how all fields can benefit from using and being knowledgeable about design.
To build design and technology capability in its own right and to act as a bridge between arts, science, and business by
- Enabling children and young people to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
- Establishing a link to the arts through exploration and iteration of creative ideas and aesthetic appreciation applied for a purpose.
- Establishing a link to science by turning new and existing knowledge into innovative products, services and commercial opportunities.
- Establishing a link to business through the application of skills used in professional design practice such as. team work, user-research, pitching, project management, financial management and marketing – in the classroom.
- Delivering learning through multi-disciplinary design-led projects.
To place human-centred-design approaches, methodologies and processes at the heart of learning by
- Enabling children and young people to develop skills of ethnography, observation, envisioning, empathy, analytical thinking, co-design, usability testing.
- Understanding the role of sustainability and ethics in human centred-design.
- Empowering young people to be active citizens and agents of change for social as well as economic. growth, which provides insight and understanding of the role of design in improving quality of life.
To focus on technical skills which relate to design processes in three-dimensional, digital and visual communication of information and ideas by
- Developing knowledge of the emergent and current means of production, manufacturing and digital technologies.
- Developing skills that enable learners to translate their ideas into material form.
For example: early stage proto-typing, key facets of interaction design and drawing for design.
To embed design and technology within an academic and cultural framework by
- Establishing a relationship between theoretical approaches taught within design at Higher Education level and classroom practice to provide rigour and support progression.
- Grounding an understanding of contemporary design and technology within our domestic design heritage, historical and international design practice.
- Using museum design collections and exhibitions as a key resource.
To forge strong links with industry and the cultural sector to inspire future designers, engineers, technologists and manufacturers; and introduce cutting-edge practice to the classroom by
- Bringing professionals into the classroom.
- Developing knowledge and insight of new genres, practices and careers in design (e.g. service design, behavioural economics, bio-mimicry).
- Delivering learning through case studies and live briefs related to a real world context.
These principles are endorsed by the following organisations
Council for Higher Education in Art & Design
Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative Industries Council Skills Group
Design Business Association
Design & Technology Association
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
Victoria & Albert Museum
For more information contact:
Bel Reed, Programme Manager for Education firstname.lastname@example.org.