Monday, 14 October 2013

BHA: Cause For Concern: Two State Schools Challenge Government Policy On Teaching Evolution

We were alarmed last week by two instances of state-funded schools challenging Government policy that evolution must be taught as valid scientific theory.

In the first case, the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School, a Charedi Jewish secondary school in Hackney,was found by the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) exam board to have blacked out questions about evolution on pupils' Science exams, depriving them of possible marks.

In another, the Al-Madinah School in Derby, which is a Muslim Free School, advertised to parents in its prospectus that it would censor out or omit entirely ‘Sensitive, inaccurate and potentially blasphemous material', and would provide special advice to teachers for situations when the curriculum requires them to 'convey teachings that are totally against Islam', such as evolution.

Al-Madinah School was recently threatened with closure by the Department for Education (DfE) for ‘manifestly breach[ing] the conditions of its funding agreement’, including by ‘discriminating in its policies and procedures towards female staff’. Concerns were also raised last month after reports that the school was forcing all female staff members (whether Muslim or not) to wear the hijab, as well as demanding girls sit at the back of the classroom.

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