The Future of engineering in schools

It is an important annual event for anyone interest in engineering and education when the London based Institution of Mechanical Engineers announces the results of their most recent piece of research which this year addressed the future of engineering in schools in the UK. A quick bit of my own research confirmed that Peter Finegold, head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, would be presenting and discussing this year's report at a Teachers' Twilight session at the Cheltenham Science Festivals, a great opportunity to meet the man himself and discuss more specific elements of the findings. You can download a free copy of the complete report via their website

The report is calling for a complete rethink of how schools and colleges are thinking about promoting engineering and questions the current narrowing of the curriculum as pupils progress through the various key stages of education. (remember my comments on D&T in a previous post ...)

Science Days and Festivals are becoming more regular events around villages and towns in the UK

The 10 long term goals suggested by 'Big ideas' according to their website are: Promote engineering as a people-focused, problem-solving, socially beneficial discipline.
Work to enhance the presence of engineering and the ‘made world’ at all stages from primary level upwards.
Ensure that apprenticeships and other technical pathways not only deliver high quality technicians but also enable individuals to progress to the highest levels of engineering.
Broaden routes into engineering degree courses by promoting more flexible entry requirements.
Maintain a broad curriculum for all young people up to the age of 18.
Shift the emphasis in STEM teaching towards problem-based, contextualised learning.
Nurture engineering ways of thinking in all young people.
Create more spaces and opportunities for young people to design and make things particularly by working collaboratively in interdisciplinary groups.
Use Design and Technology as a platform for integrating STEM and creative design and for raising the profile of engineering in schools.
Change the structure of schools' education to embed engineering explicitly at all levels.

An original mid 1920s Bugatti gearbox on display at a local Science Day for children to explore gears in action

Reading the report I tried not to be biased as I have children who would have perhaps chosen different educational paths if the official curriculum was adapted to address the shortfall of engineers in the UK. A report published back in February by Engineering UK (full report can be downloaded at ) summarised the facts in a very neat graphic (see below).


So... would you encourage your children to study engineering? Or are they studying engineering already and you know what made them connect with the subject? Or are they at primary school and can't wait to come home and spend time taking engines apart or building mechanical masterpieces with you ? Part 2 of this blog post will look at some of my personal thoughts on the 'Big Ideas' and I would love to hear what your thoughts on this are too. Have a fantastic weekend :-)

PS: 306 members in this group now ! Brilliant! Welcome to everyone who joined recently and hope you will find the educational blogs of interest. And remember, this is an open group so if you wanted to upload your own material, as long as it is within the context of the tribe... please do! Looking forward to it.

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Comments (10)
  • When I hastily purged our maketing efferts from going live I think you got lost too. Sorry Angela I have you back now.

    1 year ago
    • Hi Ben ! Couldn't agree more and thank you for saying you like the tribe , not the biggest ;-) but I guess that is what drive tribe is all about , no tribe too big or too small ;-)! Just...

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      1 year ago
    • Our primary tribe is Kids In Karts. I do the other two just to stay busy and connected. At Radio drivetribe Picture we are supporting one small tribe per week with bumps on thursday...

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      1 year ago
  • All parents worry about our kids. A stay at home dads perspective from the US. I am very warry about picking a path for my kids. Up to know we would try multiple activities different each year and I would expect 90 percentile effort at them all. So we have done soccer, building robots, baseball, chess, karate and karting over the past few years. That style has been a success for us. In this world you need high skills and you have to be a bit lucky to be in a field with high demand. Right now that is math and computers but my kids are 8 and 6. When I objectivly look at what is best for them I come back to math. An extension of that is high levels of math open you up to the engineering type jobs that you want your kids to attain. So we do have the kids working on engines and using hammer and nails as often as we can. They do have to be able to tie their shoes and think critically. To answer your original question. If your child wants to be a mechanic, ebrace it and do everything you can to move her or his skills up the food chain. Mechanical engineer would open an awesome array of well paid work in the future. Really that is a mechanic with high levels of mathmatical capability as the mechanic already has high critical thinking skills.

    Cheers Angela. I like your tribe!

    1 year ago


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