University Lecturer Sparks Parliamentary Debate on Future of Design & Technology in Schools

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A University of Worcester lecturer sparked a House of Commons debate about the future of Design & Technology in the schools curriculum.

Sue Wood-Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education: Design & Technology (D&T) at the University of Worcester approached Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff to raise her concerns about the future of the subject.

Following her visit, Mr Luff made a speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 22nd, sparking a debate on the draft D&T curriculum.

The Government’s proposed new National Curriculum for Design and Technology draft had received a very critical reception from industrialists and academics for not addressing the exciting realities of modern engineering and also for placing too great an emphasis on cooking.

In his speech Mr Luff said: “I am here today primarily because of a constituent, Sue Wood-Griffiths, a lecturer at the University of Worcester, who recently came to see me in my constituency surgery to express her concerns. A phrase in the email that Sue sent me yesterday sums everything up nicely: “We should acknowledge that we are educating children today for a world that they will live in in the future and not the one we used to live in.””

He went on to say: “The two greatest avoidable threats to our prosperity and security are the deficit and science, technology, engineering and maths, STEM, skill shortages. A good Design and Technology Curriculum can make a major contribution to addressing this second issue.

“However, as the minister will be aware, great concern about the draft D&T curriculum is being expressed by academics and teachers. But this is no plea of simple self-interest from producer groups. Industry - the end user of the skills provided to our children at school - is deeply concerned too.”

Ms Wood-Griffiths said: “I am really pleased that Mr Luff has taken this forward as a direct consequence of my meeting with him. Furthermore I was able to embrace the support of academics in other universities and colleagues in the subject association who deluged Mr Luff with information to prepare for the debate. He has presented a very robust case for the subject and for the need to review the current proposal for the curriculum. I would encourage all interested parties to engage in the curriculum consultation which ends on 16th April.”

The debate was also supported by Worcester MP Robin Walker.