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Opt out is not designed for all

YOUR report on the Design and Technology Association conference (TES, April 14) failed to mention that the disapplication of design and technology at key stage 4 is designed to be used for individual pupils in very specific circumstances.

It should not be used to allow large numbers of pupils to opt out of the national curriculum. It will be apparent, through normal monitoring, whether it is being used in this way, and we will act to prevent misuse of he system.

Design and technology is, and will remain, a statutory subject at key stage 4. It is an entitlement which develops key skills which prepare children for future life. Denying children that entitlement damages their education and their future prospects. Britain has taken the lead in design and technology education, and we want to keep it that way.

Jacqui Smith

Education minister

Department for Education and Employment

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