To help drive the economic recovery, the UK Government has overhauled the design and technology syllabus following an earlier draft of the document placed too much emphasis on topics such as sewing, cooking,. bicycle maintenance and flower arranging. Complains by Sir James Dyson (the inventor) among others set the wheels in motion to change the curriculum. The curriculum published earlier this year had prioritised “life skills” over academic disciplines. The new curriculum will now cover extensive use of “cutting-edge design equipment including laser cutters, robotics and 3D printers. The new-style lessons will start from 2014 and will place a greater emphasis on the core knowledge that each pupil will require between the age of five and 14.
This change in curriculum follows claims from the Royal Academy of Engineering that Britain needs an additional 100,000 science, technology, engineering and maths graduates every year to meet a desperate skills shortage.
A senior Whitehall source said to the Telegraph: “The new curriculum will give pupils the skills to design, make, and test their own products. Pupils will learn computer-aided design and electronics. 3D printers will become standard in our schools, a technology that is transforming manufacturing and the economy. Combined with the introduction of programming, it is a big step forward from Labour’s dumbed down curriculum.”
Between the ages of five and seven, pupils will be expected to build structures, including how to make them stronger, stiffer and more stable.
Under plans, seven- to 11-year-olds will be introduced to computer-aided design and lessons will promote the use of mechanical and electrical systems, incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors.
At secondary school, pupils will be taught to “develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations and computer-based tools”, the curriculum says.