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The effect of the EBACC on Dt

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by Simonmil, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Has anyone noticed a significant change in the way Dt is now portrayed in their schools due to the new EBacc system?
    I can imagine that it is having quite an impact on departments and was just wondering about the lay of the land - is the new system altering option groups, peoples opinions of Dt etc?
    As a Head of Dept (4 years in, so quite a newbie), I'm having external pressure of results undermined by other subjects being 'more important' when I'm trying to be pro-active. E.g. getting kids back for extra sessions/catch-up etc. It really feels like I'm in a no-win situation. I'm also having really keen Dt students in Yr9 not being able to choose Dt due to option pathways and in some cases being influenced by other staff.
    What are other peoples situations and how are they coping?
  2. We have been lucky enough not to see the effect of the EBACC in terms of numbers (touch wood), although this could also be because at t to the same time we also broadened and reviewed our range of courses on offer to cater for the weaker students by introducing BTEC courses and also reviewed what GCSE's we offer. Our numbers have actually increased year on year for the last few years.
    We also offer a 1yr GSCE Short Course to 40 Y9 students (those that achieved the best in tech during the year 8). Which means that even if these students do not go on to 'opt' for DT at KS4 they have still got some tech qualification which will also add to numbers and figures when they get to y11.
    In terms of pressure, yes we are not deemed as important as other subjects but on experience this has always been the case and i'm not sure that will change.
  3. I agree; this has always been a problem for DT - losing good, solid students because 'my mum wants me to be a doctor', when it's clear that the student would make a formidable engineer, if only the subject was more highly valued by parents, colleagues etc. I can't see the EBacc helping this in any way, as it basically ignores our whole subject.
  4. Some schools are making redundancies already. I fully expect D&T to come back in say 5-10 years, but... by that point the teachers lost during this cycle will be in other industries and there'll be a shortage. We won't be able to get back in due to a 5 year dearth of experience.
  5. Simon67

    Simon67 New commenter

    Ironically we haven't been this popular at KS4 for years, although are still suffering big time from the pressures of more academic subjects creaming the higher level pupils - even those who have opted for one of our courses but the management find we are over subscribed so we end up with "lesser" students who have put us as a reserve...

    Despite this, our KS3 time is being cut regularly - we are now down to 100minutes a week for 8 weeks in year 8 and 9 - and that is for ALL of D+T.

    And discussions seem to be implying less time next year....
  6. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    Our school is MASSIVELY pushing the EBac and this is having an affect on our already low numbers. We did our own 'technology roadshow' this year really pushing our subject and showing the technologies we have and what the pupils will have the opportunity to work with. We impressed them with the quality of the work produced at KS4 &5, along with the destination of some of our past pupils. We pedled how good our results were and therefore their opportunities to do well. We pushed future career opportunities and also the fact that red brick universities now value a DT qualification alongside science qualifications. Couldn't really have done any more!!!

    We have 95 mins per week with Y7 and 8 and only 60 mins per week with Y9 so we have been squeezed for ages. This year, we decided to do our own targetting. Will let you know how it works out in a couple of weeks when we see the options coming back.
  7. Yogi

    Yogi New commenter

    <font size="3" face="Calibri">I teach in Wales so the Ebac does not have any hold over me
    yet! However I feel that we are usually
    not far behind the English education system.</font>
    The point I want to make is that the whole thing is one big
    mess. This and the last government have
    very little idea of what is actually going on in schools or have no clear
    picture of the workforce that they are trying to produce.
    I enjoy teaching product design and especially love working
    with A level students. We have produced
    some excellent students and had good numbers go on to study varying degrees as
    a result of this course. However, what
    about the huge percentage of pupils who struggle with design and will not make
    it to university at 19? What do we have
    to offer them at Key Stage 3 and 4, and what are we contributing to their employability?
    Engineering and construction are making a strong comeback in
    the region where I work at Key Stage 4 and I feel that a lot of this is to do
    with the fact that parents understand the branding. How many parents have you spoken to that have
    no clue what Product Design is, let alone Systems and Control or Resistant
    Materials? I think that it is a good
    thing to have these subjects coming back to life in my region, I keep my eye on
    the private sector jobs scene, there are many more opportunities for young
    people in these fields than in Product Design.
    Please don&rsquo;t think
    that I am condemning Product Design because it does have it&rsquo;s place, I have
    seen firsthand the enjoyment pupils get from a genuine design and make task
    that has sufficient challenge to engage them and reward them at the end, but
    too many of us due to restrictions such as class size and funding are having to
    make a design and make project out of a wooden money box and that is quite
    simply a joke.</font>
    D&T is being done on the cheap, I hate listening to the
    politicians say that we are going to be a country that manufactures again. Where are the people going to come from to
    make these things, practical skills are at an all time low. Most D&T teachers in my area are now from
    a product design background and many of these will openly confess to having little
    if any practical skills. </font>

    <font size="3">I&rsquo;m rambling on here and don&rsquo;t have any answers, but I&rsquo;ll go
    back to my opening point that the curriculum at the moment is a mess and it cannot be put right until the
    powers that be decide what they actually want!

  8. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Yogi - A very vaild point. The whole progression of students into design or manufacturing careers will take a massive slide, I believe, if the governments proposals and general pressure on schools continues. From my point of view, I would love to have a geniune manufacturing and engineering course avaliable to studnets - but the restrictions are just too much.
    Looking at it as a wider picture, I just hope that Dt doesn't suffer too much that it near enough becomes extinct. Just look at the government's think tank on Nat Curr reviews - making Dt a 'base' subject at KS3??? Ridiculous!! Could the subject ever be rescued if its removed from KS3 study? A worrying thought is how Academies could have the power to remove Dt if needed after this proposed reform - I had a sneaky suspicion that my school was going to dumb down Dt into BTEC studies only before the new classification and grading of them.
    However, I think the main issue (and this is why I posted this thread) is how we as teachers and HoD's cope with the added pressure of selling our subject when it feels like the world is against us. i for one intend to make Dt as engaging and pro-active as I can, even when school policies and government guidlines are against me. If anything, at least for students actually interested in Dt.
  9. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    On a separate note - looking at my schools timetable for this week, I've just found out that I've lost my GCSE students for another 2 lessons to do CA work for an EBacc subject. Since Jan, that is 10 hours of a 20hr CA module completed - with the OCR deadline of May 15th looming...
  10. Yes we've had a massive reduction in numbers, partly due to a senior teacher telling students that they won't get into University without a humanities subject... and we're a Technology school!
  11. Ebacc has had a bit of an impact upon my school and we have noticed we are not getting the high fliers through our doors anymore. On the flip side however, we have just offered GCSE Engineering after the demise of the Engineering Diploma and it has been massively over subscribed.
    As for making D&T more enterprising, what is wrong with that? At parents evening we are often asked if we are selling the articles on display so why not try this? I always liken Product Design which I teach to Dragons Den or The Apprentice and the pupils love it.
    I am moving into a new school in September and we have had great support from our leadership team in planning our workshops and the equipment that goes in it. Yes, I do feel lucky in that respect !

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