I do get really flustered when I field questions from parents about whether or not Design can be studied as a post 16 level subject (A-Level or IB). The truth is, A-Level Design & Technology has been in existence longer than A-Level economics…
In fact, the subject of Design has existed in many forms as a mainstream subject since the curriculum began. When the term the ‘3R’s’ was coined in Parliament in 1840, Hansard recorded that it stood for Reading, Wroughting and Arithmetic. Wroughting as in ‘I have wrought a wonderful design’.
It has been said that, “all that is not nature is art.” Well, Richard Seymour (from Seymourpowell) went on to elucidate that you can go one step further suggesting that, “all that is not nature, is, in fact, design.” I totally agree.
If a product is not from nature itself (grown out of the ground, dropped from a tree or indeed popped out of an egg or womb) then someone has had to sit down and sketch/pen a solution for it – an answer to the problem – a creative and practical solution.
“A well designed product radiates an almost physical sense of purpose. It’s the battle of the first 35 nanoseconds – between reflex and intellectual determinism lies the battleground – that’s the domain that we must capture as designers.” Dick Powell (SeymourPowell)
Designing and manufacture is a truly creative and intellectually challenging activity. It is entirely compatible with high levels of numeracy and literacy – the design process itself draws on areas such as History, Languages, Math’s, Science, Technology, Communication and Art; developing divergent and creative abilities is a basic function of education.
One of our main aims as teachers and educators must be to inspire and empower our future designers and engineers and to excite passion in our teaching so that they can develop products they love with sensitivity to an ever-changing world market and clientele.
So let’s not stifle it. Please.