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From iconic to everyday, design is all around us, changing the way we live, how we work, providing local and global solutions and yet policy around education in design and technology is declining because of quite barmy government policy principles.

The Design Council is intent on tackling this issue with a new government to reverse policy which has witnessed a seismic decline of 68% taking Design & Technology (D&T) at GCSE. Design Council have created a Blueprint for Renewal which ACID fully supports and endorses.

Working collaboratively with industry and education leaders Deign Council will recommend that policy makers focus on four actions over the next parliamentary term.

  1. Refine and renew the D & T curriculum for 11–18-year-olds, aligning it to inclusive innovation and sustainability
  2. Develop and implement a funded strategy for D & T teacher recruitment, training, CPD and retention
  3. Consider D & T in any reform of school accountability, performance, and inspection measures
  4. Put design at the heart of a reformed broad, balanced and creative curriculum

Endorsing the Blueprint for Renewals, Sir Jony Ives said, “We have reached a critical time in design education. D & T is a uniquely interdisciplinary subject, encouraging problem solving, collaboration, empathy, and creativity as well as both critical and analytical thinking. Most importantly, it inspires young people to be curious, to trust their own ideas, and equips them to explore solutions to the world’s biggest problems.”

In 2009, more than 15,000 secondary teachers in England were trained to teach D&T. Now the figure is 6,300, and this will dip below 4,500 in the next four years. Tony Ryan, a former teacher, and CEO of the D&T Association, said: “This is not enough to sustain the subject.”

Major businesses have voiced concern, worried about D&T disappearing from the national curriculum within four years unless plummeting student and teacher numbers are reversed. Aston Martin’s Executive Vice-president and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman told the Observer how his GCSE studies in D&T inspired him to become a designer: “They were fundamental to my growth and development, not only as an artist but as a human being. And look who it’s given us: [Apple’s] Jony Ives, Stella McCartney, David Hockney.”

Dids Macdonald, Chairman and Co-founder of Anti Copying in Design said, Given that the UK design economy is robust, growing and one of the best in the world, requires renewed oxygen by policy makers to support D & T education, sooner rather than later, before “Design & Technology” teaching disappears from radar. Where will the next generation of design innovators learn their skills? How will the precious intellectual property created be harnessed as a positive force for growth? It is imperative this national asset is nurtured and supported at educational grass roots.”

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