Design industry bodies back Gove's new Design & Technology national curriculum


The Design Council and the founder of the #IncludeDesign campaign praise changes to the national curriculum that modernise the way Design and Technology is taught in schools.

Organisations representing the design industry have praised new revisions to the national curriculum that will bring 3D printing and coding lessons into schools from September 2014.

The new national curriculum will make major changes to all subjects, including Design & Technology, for five to 14-year-old pupils in England. The changes aim to provide children with access to 3D printers, laser cutters, robots and microprocessors in D&T classes. Pupils will learn how to code and solve practical computer problems at the age of 11, too.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, told ITV Daybreak that the changes to the national curriculum that will be introduced next year will allow children to have an education that sets them up with the skills to compete with foreign students who are doing better than those in England.

"I want my children, who are in primary school at the moment, to have the sort of curriculum that children in other countries have, which are doing better than our own," he said.

The Department for Education hopes that implementing these changes will provide children with the skills needed to pursue a career in design, engineering and manufacturing, by giving them the practical experience needed. The curriculum will be followed by all schools under Local Education Authority control, but can be ignored by academies and free schools.

Design Council has praised the new curriculum for Design & Technology. Chief executive of the Design Council, John Mathers has said: "Ever since the national curriculum review was announced in 2011, we have been working tenaciously both publically and behind the scenes to secure the future of Design & Technology in our schools. We're pleased that the government has taken on board our five design principles and listened to industry."

"We're delighted that schools will now have the opportunity to foster the talents of the next generation of Great British designers," he added.

Design included

Joe Macleod, global design director at ustwo and founder of the #IncludeDesign campaign is also happy with the changes.

"Although it's been a long and often difficult journey, we're pleased with the state of the new Design & Technology curriculum," he said. "There have been strong improvements: User Centered Design now provides a wide application of the subject. An increased focus on problem definition has given additional rigor, and inclusion of modern skills – such as 3D printing and programming has made the subject more relevant to the modern world and a clear bridge into other subjects."

The improvements shouldn't end there though, says Joe. "There is still more work to be done beyond the curriculum in Design Education," he insists. "We need to improve industry engagement, increase funding for up-to-date and relevant project equipment, and continue to invest in relevant training for the teachers."

The final version of the national curriculum is set to begin in September 2014, which could be a tight schedule for schools and teachers.

The changes to the curriculum follow controversy over previous plans to replace some GCSE examinations for children aged 15-16 with the EBC (English Baccalaureate Certificate), which would have made creative subjects such as art, design, music and drama a low priority in schools. These plans were abandoned in February.

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