'Teaching Plans Are More Suited to 1940s Britain', Claims Professor; Academic Slams "Dumbed Down" Technology Lessons

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Byline: Nicola Weatherall? 0191 204 3308 ? nicola.weatherall@ncjmedia.co.uk

A PIONEERING academic from the North East has criticised Government plans to reform the national curriculum which would "dumb down" technology teaching.

Professor Stephanie Atkinson said the proposals for what children should be taught are more suited to 1940s Britain and is not challenging enough for 21st Century learning.

Prof Atkinson, who became the first female woodwork teacher in the UK during the 1960s, has condemned the Department for Education's proposals for design and technology, saying the reforms will leave pupils ill-prepared for the modern world of work and instead only equip them with "basic DIY" skills.

Prof Atkinson, a design and technology expert at Sunderland University, says her concerns are shared by fellow members of the Design and Technology Association (DATA).

Prof Atkinson, who has written to her MP to highlight her fears, said: "The new proposals will lower the standards and reduce expectations.

"Even its use of terminology to describe content assumes low status such as, 'straightforward skills', 'basic skills', using 'simple' techniques. It is more DIY than design and technology.

"Where are the words that we would expect to see: words such as 'challenging and rigorous'; 'meeting user needs and values'; 'working with smart materials'; 'computer-aided design and manufacture'? "It is also the case that by identifying specific fields of knowledge others are excluded and the ones that have been chosen are far too narrow and, in some instances, totally inappropriate for a technologically-advanced nation.

"The proposals would be more suited to Britain directly after the second world war, and it concerns me greatly."

The National Curriculum Review of Key Stages 1 to 3, which covers pupils aged from five to 14, has been taking place over the past two years. …