Evolution now part of the English primary national curriculum

Today sees a new national curriculum in English schools come into force, and for the first time this includes a module on evolution in primary schools. The module on evolution and inheritance is part of the year six programme of study (ages 10-11). The British Humanist Association (BHA) has long campaigned for such a change, and has welcomed another of its goals being realised.

In 2011 the BHA launched the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign, with support from four organisations including the British Science Association and the Association for Science Education, and from 30 leading scientists including three Nobel prize winners, Sir David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins and Michael Reiss. That campaign had two simple goals: to see new rules introduced to ensure that creationism and intelligent design ‘may not be presented as scientific theories in any publicly-funded school of whatever type’, and to see evolution added to the primary national curriculum instead of being taught from year ten (ages 14-15).

The first of those goals was realised in June 2014, and the second has now been realised as well. The current year six will be taught the old programme of study, with the new programme of study being taught from September 2015.

BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘Scientists and educators have long told us that evolution is such a central idea to biology that it should be taught from a primary level instead of at GCSE. It is vital that every young person has a good understanding of how life came to be and we are pleased that today’s changes mean that from now on, young people will have more opportunities to learn about such an important topic and from an earlier age at that. We’re pleased to see the fulfilment today of our decade-long campaign.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at richy@humanism.org.uk or on 078155 89 636.

Read the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ statement, coordinated by the BHA, from 30 scientists including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins, Sir Paul Nurse and Professor Michael Reiss, the Association for Science Education, the British Science Association, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Ekklesia at http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/

Read more about the BHA’s work on ‘faith’ schools: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/faith-schools/

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on science, evolution and creationism: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/science-evolution-and-creationism/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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