A year ago, my colleague, Michael Carroll, and I wrote to Alan Johnson MP, then Secretary of State for Education and Skills at the DfES, expressing our concern about the activities of the Christian organisation, ‘Truth in Science’, and its moves to undermine the teaching of evolution in our schools.
We received what we deemed at the time to be an encouraging reply from a member of the DfES Public Communications Unit, as follows:
’Thank you for your letter of 2 February to Alan Johnson about the action taken by the Truth in Science organisation to encourage the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in the science curriculum. I have been asked to reply.
The Department’s position is that schools are under a duty to follow the science programme of study which sets out the legal requirements of the national curriculum. The programme of study for key stage 4 pupils includes a focus on the nature of science as a subject discipline including what constitutes scientific evidence and how this is established by experimentation. Pupils also learn that terminology used in science, such as theory, often have different meanings from their everyday usage. They learn that accepted scientific theories have extensive supporting evidence from established bodies of scientific knowledge. They also learn that evidence can form the basis for further experimentation. The role of the scientific community in evaluating and validating new work is also included, as is the nature of and evidence for evolution.
To meet the requirements of the national curriculum for science, teachers must teach about scientific theories. Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory and is therefore not included in the science curriculum. The Truth in Science information pack is not therefore an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum. The Department is working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to clarify the position for schools.’
Last year, we also signed an e-petition on the Prime Minister’s website, calling on him to “Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools.”
The response from the Prime Minister’s Office can now be found here.
Anybody spot a problematic loophole?