This paper has been developed in response to the serious and continuing decline in the uptake of GCSE design & technology since the subject was introduced into the National Curriculum in 1989. At that time, some 95% of young people studied the subject to the age of 16+. Since then this has fallen to about 28% (Mitchell 2016) and, with the removal of food from design & technology specifications, it is predicted to fall much further.
Rather than identify the many and varied reasons why such a decline has taken place, we develop the substance of four features of the school subject design & technology which we believe are essential if the subject is to reverse its decline and start, once again, to make a significant contribution to the education of the majority of young people.
These features are:
Each of these discussions finishes with an exploration of how the feature can be achieved.
The task of rebuilding design & technology is one that will require the whole design & technology community to pull together in the same direction. One of our purposes here is to map out the right direction, the second is to suggest ways in which the community might work together to move in that direction. Inevitably many of our recommendations are to the D&T Association as a key and leading organisation within our community. However, we wouldn’t want to give the impression that we think the task is theirs alone; rebuilding is a daunting task that will require all of us to work together alongside the Association.
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