The V&A has launched its most ambitious ever schools programme, V&A Innovate, to champion Design and Technology (D&T) as an essential subject and exciting career pathway. Available to every school in England, V&A Innovate introduces key stage 3 (KS3) students to core design principles used in industry to support teachers and prepare students for the new D&T GCSE.
Grounded in the V&A’s world-leading collections, exhibition research and cutting-edge industry practice, V&A Innovate has been created with teachers and designers to equip young people at KS3 level with the confidence and skills to develop solutions for real-world issues. Designed to be as flexible as possible, V&A Innovate can be delivered over one term, in an after-school club, over a few weeks, or intensively over one day.
Available now, teachers are encouraged to access the V&A’s new online resource hub, featuring free, downloadable resources and to sign-up to a new V&A National Schools Challenge, which opens September 2019. Key features include toolkits, animated video guides, and a range of activities to bring the challenge to life in the classroom and unlock the creative potential of the next generation of designers, makers and creatives.
To showcase the breadth, diversity and relevance of D&T, a series of interviews with contemporary designers and makers on their practice are included in the programme resources. Professional Development training will be also available for teachers through workshops delivered nationally by V&A Learning practitioners, designers and creatives.
Part of the V&A Innovate programme, the V&A National Schools Challenge invites KS3 students in state funded education to submit their projects – from September onwards – with the chance to have them showcased at a special awards day hosted at the V&A in early 2020. Finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges who include some of the most high-profile creatives and designers in fashion, sustainability, manufacturing, art and design.
V&A Innovate 2019/20’s themes are inspired by the V&A’s exhibition programme:
- GO – How might we give more people the ability to be mobile, and give people and the planet a better chance to breathe?
- EAT – How might we ensure that the way we eat is sustainable, and give more people access to affordable and healthy food?
- WEAR – How might we ensure that what we wear is part of building a better world?
V&A Innovate introduces KS3 students to the design thinking model used by industry. The model includes three stages; Collect, focuses on equipping young people to think critically and collaborate through exploration and research of their chosen idea; Make, nurtures problem solving skills and building confidence through testing and prototyping; and Share guides young people through a series of activities and design processes with suggestions for how to refine and articulate their narrative to help make change happen.
According to Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and National Programmes at the V&A, “V&A Innovate supports D&T teachers and young people at a pivotal point in their education and showcases their subject as a vital component of a balanced curriculum and exciting career pathway.
“With the recent decline in young people taking up arts subjects as GCSEs, we have developed Innovate to inspire secondary school students to continue to study Design and Technology. We know that the subject can open the doors of possibility and encourage young people to become the next generation of designers and makers.
“By equipping young people with design-led skills needed for the twenty first century, V&A Innovate delivers on the V&A’s founding mission to be ‘a schoolroom for everyone’ and provides them with an unmissable opportunity to present their ideas to some of the most influential and forward-thinking names in the creative industries.”
Linda Hill, Design and Technology Teacher, Coundon Court School in Coventry, said: “It is said that 65% tomorrow’s workers will be employed in jobs that do not exist today; nurturing young people’s agility in creative thinking and problem solving is therefore vital to their and the UK’s future.
“At KS3, students are already making key decisions about their future pathways. Engaging them in opportunities to design and model solutions for real life issues to improve the world around them, will be for the benefit of all.
“Design and Technology is unique in that it combines technical knowledge with innovative thinking and practical skills to enable students to design solutions that meet a need using a variety of media including digital technologies.”
To access V&A Innovate’s online resources and to sign up to the V&A National Schools Challenge visit: vam.ac.uk/innovate