Inspired by Industry D&TA

Inspired by Industry campaign pushes to save D&T in schools

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The Design and Technology Association (D&TA) has announced its latest initiative, Inspired by Industry: Transforming Design and Technology Education, with a mission to revitalise D&T education in schools.

This pioneering project offers a comprehensive set of resources and support materials to reshape how D&T is taught to students in England and Wales aged 11 to 14, and follows on from The Vision Paper, backed by the likes of ex-Apple design chief Jony Ive and Brompton’s Will Butler-Adams, in which the organisation addressed the need for curriculum development in both primary and Key Stage 3 (KS3) levels. It advocated for a greater emphasis on sustainability, energy conservation, design thinking, empathetic design, teamwork, and presentation skills.

Themes at the Inspired by Industry initiative’s core will cover a diverse range of subjects: addressing social and community issues through design thinking principles to creating inclusive designs for public spaces and products to delving into sustainable solutions with circular design practices.

In acknowledgement of the financial challenges many design and technology departments face, D&TA is making these resources freely available to all schools starting this year.

“Design and technology education has been a cornerstone of our nation’s educational system, and we were once at the forefront of this field, with over 430,000 GCSE entries at its peak,” said a spokesperson. “However, in recent years, we have witnessed a decline in interest, with only just over 78,000 entries in 2022, and this trend continues to persist. In contrast, many other countries have recognised the significance of D&T and STEM education, granting them educational priority and outpacing us in these crucial fields.”

In response to this concerning trend, D&TA is taking proactive steps to reverse it. Through this initiative, we seek to reconnect students with meaningful and practical learning experiences that transcend theoretical knowledge. By integrating real-world industry contexts into classroom projects, it’s hoped that students will gain a deeper understanding of the subject and its applications, fostering a more profound sense of purpose and motivation in their studies, and making the subject more appealing to educators.

“We firmly believe budget constraints should not limit access to high-quality learning materials. We aim to equip students with the skills necessary for successful careers in design and technology while assisting teachers in delivering comprehensive and engaging lessons,” continues the statement.

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“D&T education plays a pivotal role in preparing students for future careers,” says D&TA CEO Tony Ryan.

“By aligning our projects and activities with industry practices, we ensure that students are equipped with the cutting-edge knowledge and competencies employers highly value. Our resources empower students to thrive in diverse sectors, whether it’s product design, engineering, or sustainable innovation.”

The UK’s design sector, contributed an impressive £97 billion to the GDP last year, with the figure rising to over £400 billion when engineering and manufacturing are included. These sectors collectively employ 1 in 10 workers in the UK, underscoring the significant economic and employment opportunities associated with design and technology.

For further information about the project or to access the resources, please contact: info@designtechnology.org.uk