WISE welcomes the IET’s call for more engineering in schools

WISE welcomes the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) report released earlier this week calling for the UK government to introduce new measures to raise the profile of engineering and technology in schools.

The report feeds into the acknowledgement by all recent governments that STEM subjects are of vital importance to the UK. These skills are key to delivering on the government’s ambitions for a high-skill, high-wage economy, levelling-up, facilitating a green industrial revolution, and reinforcing the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower.

The report’s recommendations included the following:

  1. That the National Curriculum be reviewed to including embed the teaching of engineering at both primary and secondary levels of education.
  2. The Design and Technology (D&T) subject area should be reviewed and changed to be more engineering focused with a rebranding of the subject.
  3. The report says that the low uptake of D&T is related to its perceived low value and that school accountability measures be reviewed to move the subject into the E-Baccalaureate.
  4. All primary and secondary school teachers should have some exposure to and experience of engineering as part of their Initial Teacher Training (ITT).
  5. The report also recommended that funding be made available for engineering professionals considering a change of career since salary differentials between engineering and teaching are acute.  

The report follows an open letter from Professor Danielle George MBE, Past President of the IET, to the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November 2021. The letter outlined a proposal to bring together stakeholders across government, education, the professional institutions, and industry, to explore how engineering can be better embedded into the school curriculum, without additional pressure being placed on teaching staff.

Following an exchange of ideas with representatives from government, the IET initiated and facilitated a series of roundtables across the UK. These took place between March and September 2022. The roundtables brought together over 100 representatives from a wide range of stakeholder groups (including industry, academia, education, STEM providers and the civil service) and  gathered expert opinion, advice, and evidence regarding potential options for the development of engineering teaching and learning within UK schools. The report summarises the outcome of the roundtables. Read about it in more detail here.