Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
12 March 2017, 01:06
Design and technology GCSE has disappeared from nearly half of schools because teenagers no longer like making things.
They are too busy updating their Snapchat feeds with news of their latest haircut or practising their selfie pout.
Hundreds of schools across the country have axed the subjects from the curriculum in the past year alone, according to a poll of teachers conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders.
The Chief Executive of the Design and Technology Association said the survey results were “worrying”. She said, “We know that the subject itself suffers from a bit of an image problem, people see it as a craft based subject, where you just make a bird box or something like that.”
This would be a health and safety improvement on my school metalwork class in which, at the age of ten, we were instructed on how to make an ashtray.
They were different times, when a packet of twenty did not cost £9 and children could afford them.
The news that there is a ten per cent decrease in the number students taking design and technology as a GSCE is worrying because designing things is one thing that can't be done by a robot.
Robots can make things but they can't design them.
Like many things, it is all Tony Blair's fault.
In 2004, the Labour government removed the requirement for pupils to study design and technology at GCSE.
The problem has been exacerbated recently by the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, which focuses on a core of subjects made up of English, mathematics, history, geography, the sciences and a language.
These are important subjects. It is important to know a foreign language so you can tell visitors to "go back to your own country" in their own tongue and it is important to know geography so you know where they are going to be sent back to.
It is important to know history, so you can see it being repeated and it's important to know that 9 times 8 is 63 and that 6+6 is ten, and it's important to know English, cos it's, like, our language, innit?
But design is one of the things we are historically really good at, like music.
Unfortunately, the last big British design launch was a £300 hair dryer and our biggest musical export now is Ed Sheeran.
If we carry on ceding the lead in art and design, we will have to fall back on our traditional skills of invading countries, stealing all their stuff and introducing them to cricket.
At this rate, China will replace us at the forefront of the design world and we’ll be working in factories for twelve hours a day making cheap plastic crap for them.