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D&T making a difference in black ethnic minority education: the Sheffield LEA ICSYS partnership

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posted on 12.06.2007, 08:07 authored by Tim Lewis, John Lee, Prakash Ross, Jenny Dein, John Dawson
An innovative interpretation of the Inequality Challenge for South Yorkshire Schools (ICSYS) project by Sheffield LEA has resulted in a partnership between the LEA, local schools and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). The aim of the project is to provide black ethnic minority (BEM) pupils with a high quality Design and Technology (D&T) experience, which promotes career opportunities in the field of contemporary manufacturing and engineering. To achieve this aim computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), acknowledged as a highly motivating aspect of the modern D&T curriculum, has been selected as the vehicle for the teaching and learning experiences that the pupils will be exposed to. The project is funded by Objective 1 European Social Funding via the Learning and Skills Council. To achieve the aim the project incorporated the following elements: • DATA accredited CAD/CAM INSET in Speedstep and Artcam for teachers in participating schools. • A programme of pupil visits to manufacturing industry where the focus was on applications of CAD/CAM processes in ‘high tech’ industry. • CAD/CAM workshops for pupils in the university where they participated in small group activities led by D&T initial teacher education (ITE) students. • The development of innovative CAD/CAM projects with the aim of encouraging BEM pupils to consider careers in ‘high tech’ manufacturing. • Opportunities for BEM pupils to gain experience of ‘university life’. • Follow up CAD/CAM teaching in schools by university staff. • Opportunities for pupils to develop their presentation skills. Initial research drawn from industrial sources highlighted the need for increasing the supply of engineers, particularly in South Yorkshire, and called for further educational initiatives. Research of national data confirmed the LEA’s view that engineering and manufacturing were not strong career aspirations for BEM pupils. Further research with BEM pupils confirmed this. During the ICSYS experience pupils’ views of manufacturing, particularly the ‘high tech.’ aspect represented by CAD/CAM were monitored by questionnaires. Triangulation of the research was by an independent evaluation using semi-structured interview techniques. The paper concludes with details of the extent to which pupils attitudes can be changed by this type of positive intervention. Additionally, it details those areas of the project which have been particularly successful so providing helpful information to both present and future D&T teachers whose groups include BEM pupils.



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  • D&T Association Conference Series



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This is a conference paper