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The future

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by almika, Dec 7, 2010.

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    Before anyone jumps on me - I am only trying to interpret what I have been
    told by various members of staff at my school, I have not read the white
    paper. The White paper that the government is pushing through suggests
    massive changes to the whole education system. Design and Technology will
    more than likely be phased out over time because it is too expensive.
    Supposedly one of the DATA guys was having a conversation with a government
    minister who said "Well if B&Q is running DIY workshops D&T in
    schools can't be doing what it's supposed to be doing" If this is
    the attitude of our government ministers who are making decisions about our
    education system that is a worry don't you think!

    I did contribute in the meeting saying how short sighted it would be that
    they would stop teaching food what with the health of the nation as it is and
    how much money the National Health Service is going to have to spend over time
    sorting out the problems that malnutrition is leaving them with - but
    apparently it is all down to money and D&T is an expensive subject comparatively.

  2. Do you have a link to the white paper please?
  3. If you post your email I will send it to you.

  4. The white paper provides no indication that DT will be 'phased out'. The paper does however place emphasis on 5 'core areas of learning' - English, Maths, Science, Humanities and Languages. There is no mention of ICT or DT.
    The paper states that schools will be held to account in these 5 subjects and this 'implies' that DT results may no longer be used for league table ranking purposes. Students who leave with 5 A*-C grades in these five subjects will be awarded the English Baccalaureate.
    Going forward, If school league tables are generated from these 5 'core' areas of learning then we may see a situation where money is diverted from DT into humanities and languages in a desperate bid to inflate league table positions.
    Interesting times ahead.....

  5. From my supply teacher view. DT is being undefunded and run down at a local level. My core subject supply teacher colleagues (maths and english etc) are getting plenty of work.
    Normally at this time of year I am picking up difficult catch up course work type of stuff. However this year, much evidence that coursework is being left all over the show. the perm DT teacher off sick for three or four weeks.
    Schools are only putting the supply in for core subjects. Some may have some negative views of supply teachers. However I was in school the other day and the last skilled work I seen from the youngsters was a lesson I did on a one day job in september.
    A department I subbed in two years ago RM. 4 teachers one technician one TA, is now two teachers the technician has gone and the TA is going.
    However the DT/Product/Graphic/RM coursework is not in no way the standard you would expect it to be at this time of year.
    At least one cannont blame the standard of the supply teacher

  6. Thanks for this - interesting times ahead indeed.
  7. It is vital that we use our subject association DATA in these depressing times. Visit www.data.org.uk read the manifesto and sign up on line. If you are not yet a member it will be the best £65 investment you may make to save you longterm future (its tax deductable anyway)
  8. Can I just add that it is not all doom & gloom. In my school within the last 4 years we have had the 2 food rooms completly refitted. A new IT room added to the department for our exclusive use and a new refitted graphics room. Yes we have had our budget cut this year BUT every department in the school has. And have to say, overall my coursework is of a good standard and is almost finished.
    Within the department we are very united and very supported of each other, have not needed supply teachers as we have been lucky in that we have all remained well. Have 8 y11 GCSE groups & 9 y10 GCSE groups. We have a dedicated staff of 8 teachers & 3 support staff.
    We do work hard to promoted the department within the whole school, young enterprise use our facilities for their "companies" & the food department is doing some of the catering for school functions.
    I am sorry if this is not the case for more schools
  9. We are in the same position as Jillyo. D&T is thriving and buzzing in my school. We have introduced Catering and have 7 groups. Yes, there are cuts affecting us all . We are having to use a lot of recycled materials. We know we are an expensive area. Electronics for example, but don't we want students to know these life skills?
    Why doesn't B&Q give us some equipment/money?
    Also a lot of challenging students are nudged our way!
  10. Hi,
    I think that you both missed what I was trying to say - it is about the future not what has happened in the past or what is happening now. I have a thriving department and we get excellent results with good coursework but the point is that this will not make any difference to the future of funding and curriculum if a government enforces change as they are stating the white paper. I know that I shouldnt worry as it doesnt achieve anything but I feel I am going form having a secure job to one that potentially could be axed!
  11. I can see clearly what you mean and I am saying that it is important to the students. But does governement ever listen to what we say? They have forced every new initiative onto us what ever. How many years have we been saying Food Tech is a waste of time!

  12. Oh God I completely agree with you. I don't think they listen at all no and I dont think they have much of an idea of what happens at the ground level.
  13. sav5000

    sav5000 New commenter

    Intresting times, we have seen an expansion in practical subjects in the last 3 yrs. However it was in external WRL not DT.
    The introduction of vocational Construction, Vehicle maint, Hairdresssing, Beauty etc.
    All very very expensive to fund, has hit DT option numbers. I think these courses will go first when funding gets tight and then numbers will return in school to DT, as this is the next best place for the vocational types.

  14. In my view, Design Technology should be redefined. It
    should go back to being 100% useful practical skills: cooking, sewing, wood- and metal work, and electronics. The current emphasis on manufacturing, the
    design process, consumer research, packaging and product evaluation is not
    particularly useful, and in fact wastes curriculum time that could be used for more
    essential skills.
    If one wants to work in such an industry, then sich consumer and design-related things could
    be studied after compulsory education has been completed. I don't see
    how such knowledge is necessary to all pupils in life. Isn't better just to use the
    curriculum time to focus on 100% practical skills that could be used in
    everyday life. E.g. how to cook a proper meal, rather than designing a ready meal and its packaging?
    When I was at school, I loved the practical sides of the subject, making things, learning how to use tools, how to make bread, etc. What I hated was all the paperwork: having to create surveys, planing how I am going to do something, none of which has ever really benefitted me in life; the practical skills however will stay with me forever.
    I believe, therefore, that reverting "DT" to how it used to be would be much more benefical and useful to pupils, providing them with practical, essential and useful life-skills. A young adult should know how to repair a torn shirt, prepare a healthy dinner, put together a shelf, and wire an alarm. They don't necessarily need to know how to design a ready meal or do a survey on fashion.
  15. Judodan, education should not be telling children how to survive around the house - THAT is something we should be able to expect from parents. If the subject became all about teaching kids household skills, I'd quit. No value in that.

    Education should be about preparing students with the knowledge and skills they'll need for future work or study, and that's what we do.
  16. There is no value in lifeskills? I don't agree. The philosphy of education should be to educate pupils not only in work and study skills, but in lifeskills too. I agree that parents should prepare their children in certain lifeskills, but in reality, how often does this happen? Many pupils leave school with very few life skills, because they haven't been taught them at school nor at home, because they have uninterested or apathetic parents - some of whom don't have the skills themselves to pass on. Many of these children who unfortunately learn nothing from their home environment only have school to rely on to provide with such essentials skills, and this is why I consider them more important than "the design process".
  17. Well, I wasn't really worried about it until waking up to hearing about curriculum reforms on Radio 4 news at 6am this morning - and then reading this thread. Doom. If it does result in the death of D&T I'm now thinking about alternative career paths.... All I've come up with so far is Primary school teaching. Double doom. It's hardly likely to be a good time to try and get into the design industry. Anyone else have any ideas? My better half didn't even respond to my suggestion of me becoming a lady of leisure!
  18. Government policy is hard enough to understand at the best of times.
    The English Bacc is a move towards re-establihing traditional values. Of there are very good reasons why we moved away from them over time. it also provides an ultra convenient way of ensuring hte new government has estabished a measure for "improvement".

    D&T isn't dead yet, but it is too large and unweildy in curriculum coverage.
    Yes we need to teach life skills - especially when parents don't.And enable them to learn independently.
    We need to prepare children for the world of work, where manufacturing will become increasing important (again)
    We need to prepare students for living in a technological age.
    But those are three very different things.
    PSHE should do the first, D&T the second and Engineering/ICT the third.
    But do they?

    Take heart! The position with Languages will mean a lot of teachers will be dragged into teaching languages to students who would have rejected them if they had a cholce -
    Probably the same for Humanities.
    Kids will look longingly at the practical facilities in a school - especially if we sell it at KS3
  19. Well said big B.

    I was worried when I first heard about this, but to be fair you are right - do I want loads of kids that don't want to do the subject.

    Of course my concern is that the subject will suffer unduly, as those who would clearly benefit from doing tech get shifted to humanities to bolster the Eng Bac numbers. This would undoubtedly come with funding cuts - we are an expensive subject.

    In response to Judodan above, I agree that designing ready meals is probably going a bit far, but I'm afraid that I would cut off my hand with a steel ruler if I had to teach shelving for the rest of my career. And, from your first post, you say that planning how to do things in advance is not a life skill?!

    I stick to the opinion that nothing really changes, its just the words that are different.


  20. Life skills, practical skills - this has always been our downfall and why we often get neglected withing the curriculum. We should be offering so much more to students and to the curriculum. There is still a view, by staff and students, that you do Technology if you want to be a tradesperson. We need to stake our place on the curriculum by the unique skills we can develop - Problem solving, creative thinking etc.

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