Pupils views of school and popular culture, their opinions of design and technology at Key Stage 3 and their perception of its relevance for their futures

This study arose from research into the educational value of 3-D sketch modelling conducted in a rural community college. To provide a context for their work, the researchers conducted detailed structured interviews with 18 14-year-olds. These covered their views of school, of design and technology as a subject and of a specific project to design and make knock down furniture. In addition, the researchers were able to construct a 'snapshot' of each child's interests, aspirations and cultural background. The results proved to be worth further analysis separately from the modelling research. The findings bear out the results of a much larger sample undertaken by Tyers as part of the Crafts Council Learning Through Making project. Design and technology, and particularly making, appear to be universally enjoyed by pupils. However, they rate it as of minor importance in their general education. In this study, because of the more detailed interview technique, the researchers are able to relate this general conclusion to the children's own awareness of fashion and design, their personal making activities, and contemporary children's culture. Against this background it is all the more surprising that young teenagers do not see design and technology as relevant to their lives now and in the future.