Report backs technology curriculum revamp

25 March, 2011

Technology revamp

Gender issues in design and technology courses at schools also need to be tackled

A report by the education regulator has called for the curriculum for design and technology lessons in England’s schools to be modernised to keep up with developments across the world.

Ofsted researchers found that the development of pupils’ knowledge and skills were being undermined as teachers lacked subject-specific training.

More than a quarter of primary school pupils and about half of children in secondaries were found to have limited opportunities to develop knowledge of modern materials, electronic systems and control, and computer aided design and manufacture (CAD/CAM).

The report also found that in scenarios where pupils’ achievements was no better than satisfactory, it was as a result of a weakness in teachers’ planning and assessment, work was pitched too low, it lacked relevance, or duplicated earlier learning.

Gender issues in design and technology courses at schools also need to be tackled, the report claims. It looked at the need to improve achievement among boys and how schools are challenging gender stereotyping in pupils’ choice of subject and what they design.

Choices made in relation to design and technology options at key Stage 4 and success at GCSE level were also found to be markedly different between the two genders. Some schools, however, were found to be encouraging girls to be taking up electronics while others were having success enabling more boys to choose to study food technology and catering.

Around a third of the secondary schools surveyed made little use of electronics, computer aided design and manufacture (CAD/CAM) and robotics. The report said other countries, such as China and France, emphasised teaching the skills needed to become independent learners.