Design and Technology in the United Kingdom

Stephanie Atkinson
1990 Journal of Technology Education  
Historical Perspective "Handicraft" was a recognized subject in the national education system of the United Kingdom (UK) almost a century ago. But it is only in the past sixty years that the curriculum area we in the UK now call "Design and Technology" has progressed from single material, craft-skill based courses for the less able to a thinking, feeling, doing activity drawing on and linking with a wide range of subject bases for all pupils of compulsory school age. In comparison to many
more » ... ts in the current school curriculum, Design and Technology is still in its infancy. Unfortunately the English language has no single word like "literacy" or "numeracy" which might denote the activities which go on in Design and Technology. Over the years, this has had unfortunate consequences for those trying to establish and build up this important subject. The subject which started out as Handicraft has over the years developed and evolved to encompass a growing range of activities. Early Handicraft teachers were usually classroom teachers who became craftsmen, or practicing craftsmen who, by taking a short course, obtained a qualification to teach only that subject. Its very name has altered from "Handicraft," to "Woodwork," "Metalwork," "Manual Training," "Craft," "Technical Subjects," "Design," "Craft, Design and Technology" (CDT), and now "Design and Technology." Its status and its place in the overall school curriculum has also changed as a result of these developments. To many, the pace of development has appeared to be slow. For the first fifty years, courses in manual training were provided in certain schools for less academically able boys, while girls were allowed to study Domestic Science and Sewing, with little or no alteration as to how or what was delivered. The changes that took place in the UK economy after World War II required a substantial increase in the skilled labor force. This, in turn, led to an Stephanie Atkinson is Senior Lecturer,
doi:10.21061/jte.v2i1.a.2 fatcat:hr66ckmfjfbani2hbkcn5obsfi