New UK National Curriculum Specifies 3D Printing is to “Become Standard”

I try to keep politics out of my writing – not always successfully I might add. I am not a fan! I no longer have any trust, not even a shred, in what politicians say. So, with the news on in the background and a quick flick through the online headlines, the usual “blah, blah, blah” was flashing across my screen. Until, that is, I heard the spiel around the new plans for the national curriculum in the UK — gratifyingly it includes plans to incorporate 3D printing ….. as standard. Obviously, it’s still early days, and whether they actually DO anything concrete as opposed to SAYING what they think people want to hear is another matter entirely. But this does suggest that the lobbying by leading academics and industrialists on this subject in the last 12 months has had some impact at Westminster, at least in terms of rhetoric.

The current government is looking to improve the education system across the board in a bid to reverse, as they say, “Labour’s dumbed-down curriculum.” This includes introducing five year olds to fractions, nine year olds to 12x tables as well as improvements to literacy, history, geography and computing. Noble aims. But also in there was a requirement for 3D printers to be used in design and technology lessons, after major revisions to the subject’s curriculum. This, when just a year or two ago, D&T didn’t even look like it had a future at all.

The Guardian, in particular, reports a Whitehall source: “Three-dimensional printers will become standard in our schools – a technology that is transforming manufacturing and the economy.” They’re not wrong on the second clause and if they can bring about the claim in the first then they could well be onto something.

The scope for the improvements in D&T alone is obviously much wider and incorporates lots of different facets as well as other tools. But if they can focus on the skills, backed by hands-on experience, then so much the better. And if that means a 3D printer in every school, that parents don’t have to raise funds for, then great.

But, I’ll believe it when I see it, and in the meantime, I’ll keep on fund-raising.

Image credit: The Guardian