3D Printing Becomes Standard Equipment for UK Schools

UK Education Secretary Michael Gove announced England’s schools will use a new “national curriculum” commencing in September 2014. While the new curriculum contains a variety of improvements, there is a rather interesting inclusion: exposure and basic training on the use of advanced technologies such as robotics and 3D printing. 
This implies each UK school (at least the public ones) will effectively be required to provide a 3D printer, associated software and training to children as young as five years old. 
Big implications arise from this policy change. 
First, someone is going to sell an awful lot of inexpensive 3D printers. There are approximately 17,000 primary schools in England alone, and if each required at least one 3D printer, well, you get the picture. In fact, it’s a lot more than that. 3D printers are notorious for their lengthy operating times. This means schools will require multiple machines to enable all students access. There could be as many as 100,000 3D printer sales or more as a result of the new curriculum. Expect sales people to swarm school administrators soon. 
Secondly, this policy change means virtually all children in England will be well versed on the concepts of making and design. These empowered and confident will age into adolescents and eventually adults where their early experience with 3D printing will generate ideas, companies and concepts we can only dream of today. 
Well done, England! 
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One Response

  1. As well as the link to my blog on the it is 3D website, I have a few comments about your article:
    1) The number of primary schools in the UK is actually closer to twice your figure.
    2) The majority of UK primary schools just do not have the budget for 3D printing. If they are to get involved, it will probably have to be on the basis of multi-school consortia.
    3) 3D printers will be a useless tool in primary schools if the pupils are not given access to appropriate tools to create designs in the first place. We offer schools a complete bundle which includes low cost 3D design with haptics (which really gets them excited) plus low cost 3D scanning so that they can create 3D models manually, and then scan and print them, as well as being able to scan their own heads to create mini-models of themselves. And 3D printers as well of course.

    As the only 3D company in the UK (and perhaps globally) that is totally dedicated to the education market, we look forward to greater sales. But it will not be as easy as your article implies. To that end, we also offer schools a print service so that they can get started without having to worry about the capital cost in the first instance.

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