Design & Technology has faced challenges in recent times and the importance of handling the GCSE reforms and promoting the popularity of the subject is crucial for the future success of the subject. As a Head of Department, former moderator and Senior Leader in a secondary school, I have seen many D&T departments struggle and slowly shrink in size, due to a number of local, national and political factors. The following points are the main challenges I have faced and some of the strategies we implemented to continue to develop D&T into one of the highest profile and most popular subjects in our school.
Selling Design & Technology and promoting its importance to all stakeholders: D&T is misunderstood by so many and there is a need of a ‘re-brand’. Ensuring that senior leaders, parents and students are informed of what a modern Design & Technology curriculum is, and more importantly, what it is not.
Embracing the new reforms: whether you like it or not, the new GCSE and vocational Level 1/2 awards are here to stay. These have been written to take into account the needs of industry by modernising the subject so it has a clearer link to engineering. The planning and changes to what we teach and all key stages have pushed many outside their comfort zones. The need for proactive, collaborative and effective planning is vital.
Integrating the expertise you have in your department: invest in CPD to help support the gaps in staff knowledge to enable teachers to deliver the new reforms confidently. We are no longer Textiles, Graphics, Product Design, Systems and Control, etc. specialists - We are Design and Technology specialists and need to think that way.
Giles Smith - Assistant Headteacher and Head of Design and Technology
Giles has been Head of Design and Technology for seven years. A former moderator for AQA, he is also an Assistant Headteacher at Crestwood School (part of Invictus Education Trust).