Pupil’s perceptions of design & technology education in England and Wales: emergent findings

David Wooff, Dawne Bell, Matt McLain, Mike Martin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding (ISBN)peer-review


The curriculum for Design and Technology in secondary schools in England and Wales has been under review. With policy makers questioning not only the position the subject occupies within the curriculum, but also the value Design and Technology holds. As a result, Design and technology’s future, as a subject, is uncertain. Set against a background of policy and curriculum change, this paper presents the findings of a research study designed to elicit the perceptions of, and gain an insight into the way Key Stage 3 pupils (11 - 14 years) view Design and Technology. Utilising the concept of the original PATT Tool (Raat & de Vries, 1986), and building upon the work of previous studies undertaken nationally or globally (de Vries, 1988; de Klerk Wolters, 1989; Bame & Dugger, 1993; Volk & Yip 1999; Van Rensburg, Ankiewicz & Myburgh, 1999; Ankiewicz & Van Rensburg 2001; Becker & Maunsaiyat 2002; Chikasanda, Williams, Otrel-Cass & Jones, 2011; Gaotlhobogwe, 2010; Ardies, De Maeyer & Gijbels, 2012, 2013), the fundamental aim of the research at inception was to investigate the perceptions of pupils with respect to their understanding of what is technology education. Although simplistic in origin, the findings presented illustrate that this is far from the case. Framed epistemologically within a social practice lens (Suchman, Blomberg, Orr & Trigg, 1999), the research tool used was a questionnaire 458 comprising of a series of open and closed questions. Administered by teachers who recorded both electronically and in hard copy, the sample was drawn randomly via those choosing to respond. Responses were gathered from 173 schools throughout England and Wales with data being collected over an eight month period commencing in July 2012. Analysis of the data elicited a number of key findings which are presented here. Although exclusively based on the perspective of school pupils in England and Wales, it is anticipated that the findings will provide both stimulus and a starting point forresearchers working under similar curriculum constraints or revisions. Given the nature of the curriculum changes which have occurred, the research team intend to develop the tool further and expand it to include pupils in the post compulsory age bracket (16 - 18years) and the primary education age bracket.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNot Known
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2015
EventPupils' Attitudes Towards Technology (PATT) Conference - Palais du Pharo, Marseille, France
Duration: 7 Apr 201510 Apr 2015


ConferencePupils' Attitudes Towards Technology (PATT) Conference


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