Tuesday, 19 June 2012

BHA: Evolution To Be Taught In Primary Schools

Last week the Department for Education published its draft primary National Curriculum for science, along with the announcement that evolution would be included for the first time. We were naturally delighted at this news, which represents the fulfilment of yet another aim of our 'Teach evolution, not creationism' campaign.

This is actually the second time this victory has been secured. In 2009, the Labour Government also reviewed the primary curriculum, and their initial proposals did not include evolution. As a result, the BHA coordinated a letter from 26 leading scientists and educators calling for this to change; and the Government wrote back saying that yes, they would now include it. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to turn their plans into law before the 2010 election, and so no progress was made. We therefore had to start again with the Coalition Government, and Teach evolution, not creationism. We’re therefore very pleased that they have also decided to give the teaching of evolution the early start it deserves.

What’s left for the wider campaign? We still need to help shepherd these proposals through to fruition, and avoid any disasters like last time. In addition, Academies and Free Schools do not need to follow the National Curriculum, and we have pressing concerns as to how many avoid this subject.

And on creationism, in January, the Government precluded it from being taught in Free Schools – another major victory. But more recently, we’ve seen a proposed creationist school get past the first round of the application process, so some jitters remain. And more pressingly, in February the Governmentdeclined to preclude creationism from being taught in Academies.

So there’s still more work to be done to get the rule for Free Schools on creationism rolled out to Academies and maintained schools, and the rule for maintained schools on evolution rolled out to Academies and Free Schools. But we’re pleased that the two biggest goals of the campaign have now been achieved, so if you signed our e-petition or wrote to your MP about this, then give yourself a pat on the back.

We've got just 2% to go until we hit our fundraising target for our campaign against 'faith' schools. Please donate here.