Big Bangs and damp squibs

Published 13th March 2014

Written by: Richard Green

Design and technology has been in the news a lot over the last couple of days - or should I say, design and technology should have been in the news a lot! First was the CBI report, 'Engineering our future,' which talks about the urgent need to address the shortage of engineering skills. In relation to schools it talks about the need for children to study 3 sciences and expanding the UTC programme. No mention of the role of D&T or Computing, even though the CBI supported our campaign to reject and revise the first draft of the National Curriculum programmes of study for D&T 2 years ago.

Next - Tuesday's excellent BBC Radio 4 Life Scientific programme featuring Prof Mark Miodownik and the importance of making as a way of learning. He advocates workshops in every school and laser cutters and 3D printers replacing books in libraries. We have the former, along with the machines he refers to, and we are unlikely to see the latter! Is the wider public aware of what is going on in D&T departments these days?

Next - yesterday's reporting by the BBC of the use of 3D printing in facial reconstruction. Not that I'd expect the BBC to be referencing school use of 3D printers in this report, but it does show the public interest in the technology and how we have to be showing that D&T is introducing young people to it as early as KS2 in some schools.

I just hope that this year the media recognises that the majority of the engineering entries at the Big Bang Science and Engineering Fair, which starts today at the NEC, will come from Design and Technology projects, taught by Design and Technology teachers. I also hope that Elizabeth Truss MP, when she opens the Fair, talks about the important role of D&T in giving young people the opportunity to link designing with science, maths and computing to solve real design challenges.

Let's hope D&T and D&T teachers actually make it into the media over the next 4 days and that both get the recognition they deserve!

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