(Beginner's Bible Coloring Book!, The Searcher, used with permission)The UK Government has banned the practice of teaching Creationism as science in all UK schools, including the less-regulated, semi-privatised Free Schools and Academies. Previously, all state schools and most Academies and Free Schools were prohibited from teaching Creationism, but existing religious schools were exempted from the rule. Since the new year, the government has closed off these exemptions, and with the latest move, has closed all of them, meaning that no school may teach Creationism any longer. However, state-funded nurseries and lightly inspected private schools are expected to go on teaching Creationism until further changes are made.
The British Humanist Association -- which I joined as a lifetime member -- has led the campaign against the teaching of Creationism in schools, and also campaigns against the Religious Education requirement in English and Welsh curriculum. I believe that RE should be integrated into the social anthropology curriculum and not taught as a standalone subject.
BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘In 2011 our “Teach evolution, not creationism” campaign called for enforceable rules saying that creationism cannot be presented as a valid scientific theory in any publicly-funded school. Now the Government has extended such an explicit rule to all new Academies and Free Schools and made it clear that it believes that existing rules mean that no Academy or Free School can teach pseudoscience.
‘Coupled with the fact that maintained schools must follow the national curriculum, which from September will include a module on evolution at the primary level – the other thing we called for – we believe that this means that the objectives of the campaign are largely met. We congratulate the Government on its robust stance on this issue.
‘However, there are other ongoing areas of concern, for example the large number of state financed creationist nurseries, or the inadequate inspection of private creationist schools, and continued vigilance is needed in the state-funded sector. We will continue to work for reform in the remaining areas, but are pleased that the vast majority of issues are now dealt with.’