‘Meeting Technological Challenges’ – Ofsted Report

[In response: See our NEW In-School CPD Electronics Training Course and free electronics software to support schools.]

On 25th March 2011 Ofsted published the findings of a 3 year study between September 2007 and July 2010 by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) to evaluate the provision of design and technology (D&T) in primary and secondary schools. The inspections were to evaluate how well the subject was meeting its National Curriculum aims and promoting high levels of achievement.

These are excerpts with some relevance to the delivery of systems and control/electronics in secondary schools:-

…Inspectors found that a considerable challenge facing schools is the modernisation of the D&T curriculum so that it keeps pace with technological developments…

… The responsibility for tackling the challenge of ensuring that the D&T curriculum keeps up with technological developments is primarily that of schools…

…Achievement in D&T was more variable in the secondary schools …. It was good or outstanding in just under half of the 89 secondary schools visited; in nine schools achievement was outstanding, but in another four it was inadequate…

…In outstanding secondary schools, students learnt how modern materials and new technologies worked and how to design and make with them. In so doing, pupils developed the skills to think, design and shape their future…

…Not all students in all of the schools visited experienced D&T of this high calibre. Many teachers were not keeping pace with technological developments or expanding upon their initial training sufficiently to enable them to teach the technically demanding aspects of the curriculum…

 …Most pupils in all of the schools visited enjoyed designing and making products, solving problems and seeing their ideas taking shape…

…Pupils’ work in D&T from their primary schools was rarely built upon by the secondary schools in the sample… This lack of continuity led, in the less effective schools, to weak curriculum planning at Key Stage 3. Pupils said they found projects and units of work in D&T easy and the nature of the work was pitched too low or duplicated earlier learning of the type commonly seen in primary schools. This did not challenge pupils sufficiently, particularly the most able…

…More outstanding teaching was seen in secondary schools, where lessons included up-to-date technologies which were demonstrated and explained accurately to pupils. However, most of the schools visited had not made sufficient use of subject-specific training to enable teachers new to the profession, and those who were more experienced, to continually update their subject knowledge. This often resulted in an out-dated Key Stage 3 curriculum…

 …Take-up of GCSE courses in the essential technological areas of electronics and systems and control has been low, due mainly to the lack of relevant expertise among teachers…

 …In around a third of the secondary schools, too little use was made of electronics, computer aided design and manufacture (CAD and CAM) and control technology in the teaching of D&T…

 …To enable education in England to keep pace with global technological change, new approaches are needed to teaching pupils how to apply electronics in combination with new materials and how to apply control systems in all aspects of the subject…

 Links to electronics teaching resources:-

Free Activities to Download
QuickLink CPD Electronics Training 
Project Tools PLUS Electronics Teaching and Learning Software 
QuickLink Project Modelling/Making Hardware

Full Ofsted Report: See Links Page

About Quinn

Designer and founder of QuickLink Systems
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