Is it possible to ensure the survival of primary design and technology through ten hour courses?

Maggie Rogers
2004, Vol. 9, No. 1,


The title of this article refers to one of the main issues facing primary design and technology (D&T) education at the current time. The lack of time given over to D&T for primary teachers in training is also critical, as some students will graduate with less than ten hours experience of design and technology, some with none at all since the introduction of ‘either/or’ subjects in the initial teacher training (ITT) curriculum. If preparation for teaching the subject is minimal in ITT, is there an alternative?

The proviso in the TTA Standards of support in D&T from experienced teachers for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) needs closer scrutiny:

“to be able to teach them to their intended age range in their first year of teaching, with the support of an experienced teacher where necessary” (2002 2.b).

One could presume that this task would fall on the shoulders of the subject leader. This article reports on a study which set out to find out how realistic the provision for support suggested is and what support is available for those on whose shoulders the responsibility will fall.

What emerges from the study are enthusiastic and committed subject leaders who are getting variable support due to the lack of investment in advisory services. While it is not uncommon to meet NQTs who have had no preparation to teach design and technology, teachers were interviewed whose knowledge and understanding of their design and technology subject specialism in training is having a significant impact on the practice in their schools. However, interviews conducted as part of the study also exposed the general lack of understanding of what design and technology is, the purposes of the activities and the differences between design and technology and science activities.

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