Reading the comments here is both inspiring and also depressing. Particularly when I hear comments that nothing is happening in depts. that might inspire students (from a few people way down the list in the blog). I trained as a proper teacher in 1982-86 from a building engineering background. Still teach (currently Product Design in NZ). I teach product design and we manufacture mechanical games (Yr 11) amplified radios with Yr 12, mini-motor bikes with a 50cc engine ready to race to a Yr 12 Engineering group and a Yr 13 group (their own project choice). Product design is the biggest option subject in Tech suite in the senior school here. Seems the kids like it then! Yes the design process has becoming formulaic. That is not down to the design curriculum but rather the imposition of league tables. As soon as they came along creativity was fighting an uphill battle hence most teachers now look to make sure they 'make' the pass rate. That is nothing to do at all with the curriculum but all about control from central govt. What depresses me is when I look at younger teachers in the UK they have inadequate training for the style of teaching that I recognise as being really beneficial. What they (our newer colleagues) are good at is reading documents and finding the most effective way of seeing their students pass. Good on them for that too. But in my view that is not 'education' however as a profession we have lost so many good people who argued against the view that passing assessments is good education. As such our voice is quieter now and is more easily ignored. Teaching has increasingly become 'just a job' (Academies and the increasing use of 'local' agreements has seen to that). It never was 'just a job' and still is not that as far as I am concerned. As I reach the end of my career I look back with much affection on the fun the subject has given me and my students. It is worthwhile, it is practical too. It can appeal to academics and those of a more practical disposition. It is what links all areas of the curriculum. I have been employed by 9 separate head teachers across three countries. My depts. have never had an issue with numbers and if they did I would look to lesson content first. There are always ways to subvert the system and still do the right thing! But that is tiring and may be why I am here now! When Tech became a core subject and all students had to chose a technology that was the zenith. We smashed all other subjects. Why because we knew how to deal with difficult kids and we were also brilliant at what with did with the not so difficult ones i.e. the so-called academics. It was really interesting to see many subjects who had never had to do that e.g. teach more challenging kids because their subjects were too difficult for them, handle the change. Basically, they did not handle it at all. But that has all gone and that is because we focus totally on numeracy and literacy and are driven by league tables. That has nothing to do with the curriculum but is all about the loss of autonomy of the teacher. Yes some of the content might be bland but in the past that could be manipulated. Not so anymore! When we have well qualified people entering the profession, for whom the role of teaching is more than a job and have been schooled in the Arts of teaching via a dedicated teacher training course. We may reverse the current trend. Who knows, me might see an increase in those wanting to teach our wonderful subject of Design Technology. The best subject by far! But my voice is half a world away. I wonder if anyone can hear it?