Think Ahead Tank: The future of designing and making in schools

The take up of Design & Technology as a GCSE subject in schools is plummeting. It’s the tip of an iceberg; in a rapidly changing world which demands creative and ingenious responses, the fertile connections between designing, making, engineering, technology and the sciences are consistently undervalued and sidelined in our schools.

We created a set of eight short films documenting a ‘Think Ahead Tank’ convened by FixEd in autumn 2019 in which 20 people, from graduates to high-profile leaders and educators, from organisations as varied as the V&A museum, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Google, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and multiple schools, came together to explore the issues and impacts.

Here’s our BIG 4 – the reasons it’s so urgent to reassess designing and making in schools:

A changing world demands creative responses. Designing and making skills create a foundation for understanding change and the basic toolkit for shaping the world around us. Click edit button to change this text.

In a society and consumer culture which is demanding less and less from its citizens, a future without designing and making limits peoples ability to shape the world around them.

Between Youtube and apprenticeships, school as a place may be less important in the future. Designing and making are well matched to a vision of learning without walls.

When design skills are increasingly used in the improvement of anything from government policy to organisational strategy, apps, bridges and kettles, we need a rethink of how we teach it.

We’d like to thank The Comino Foundation for supporting us as well as all of the educators, technologists, makers, engineers and designers who shared their thoughts and expertise.

Attendees included;
Andrew Brewerton, Principal & Chief Executive at Plymouth College;
Ben Stopher, Dean at UAL Creative Computing Institute;
Dan Cundy, Executive Principal at South Bank Engineering UTC;
David Houston, Schools Producer – Learning at Design Museum;
David Perry, Trustee at The Comino Foundation;
Helen Charman, Director of Learning & National Programmes at Victoria & Albert Museum;
James Shaw, Bartlett UCL & STORE Projects;
José Chambers, Development Fellow at The Comino Foundation;
Josie King, Space Manager at Machines Room;
Juliet Ollard, Researcher at Nesta;
Kevin Green, Bartlett UCL & STORE Projects;
Lia Thomas, Building host at 3Space;
Matt Jones, Principal Designer, Google AI at Google;
Mike Greer, VP Software Product at Kano;
Nicola Dillon, Remakery;
Oliver Quinlan, Senior Research Manager at Raspberry Pi Foundation;
Rebecca Goozee, Project Manager Make Your Future at Crafts Council;
Ross Atkin, Director at Ross Atkin Associates;
Sarah Gregory, Head of Creative Careers at Creative Industries Federation;
Scott Atkinson, Education Programmes Manager at Royal Academy of Engineering;
Sophie Thomas, Founding Director at Thomas Matthews;
Tom Gunter, Education Policy Advisor at Royal Academy of Engineering;
Wajid Riaz, Design Technology Teacher at Sarah Bonnell School.