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Welsh Government ignores leading scientists’ advice on teaching evolution, not creationism

The Welsh Government has today published its new national curriculum, which ignores the advice of around 50 world-class scientists including Sir David Attenborough that evolution should be explicitly added to the primary curriculum and there should be a ban on teaching pseudoscience, including creationism, as scientifically valid. Wales Humanists has expressed disappointment at the decision.

The new curriculum, which will be implemented from 2022, does not require evolution to be taught in primary school – only during progression step 5 (ages 14-16). Wales Humanists is also concerned that outside of Science classes, other types of pseudoscience, such as teaching false information on abortion in Relationships and Sexuality Education, could be allowed to occur.

However, the new humanities curriculum does include non-religious worldviews on an equal footing with the major religions, stating, for instance, that the ‘School curriculum should: develop rich contexts for enquiry into the concepts of religion, worldviews, secularity, spirituality, life stance, identity and culture to develop learners’ well-rounded understanding of religious and non-religious worldviews’. This area of the curriculum will be supported by a further framework, which will be published in due course. Wales Humanists has also repeatedly raised concerns around the right to withdraw from RE being removed – particularly in faith schools – describing it as ‘potentially unlawful’.

Wales Humanists last year organised a petition and joint letter signed by over 50 high-profile scientists warning of the risks to students’ science education if the Welsh Government did not take heed of the advice on evolution and creationism. Humanists UK previously ran the successful ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign in England that led to the UK Government deciding to adopt the same two requested changes.

Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick said: ‘Pupils deserve a high-quality science education which means being taught evolution from a young age, and being equipped with the knowledge they need to tackle misinformation in everyday life and to reason scientifically. It is hugely disappointing that the Welsh Government has ignored the advice of leading, world-class scientists and gone ahead with a new curriculum that will allow for creationism and other pseudoscientific ideas to be taught as science in our schools and which fails to require the teaching of evolution until a very late stage.

‘We will continue to work with the Government, local authorities, and schools to ensure that their curriculums are as high-quality, objective, and comprehensive as they can be.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read more about our Wales ‘Teach evolution, not creationism’ campaign.

Read more about the Welsh Government’s announcement on the right to withdraw from RE and RSE.

Read more about Humanists UK’s work on science education.

Wales Humanists is a part of Humanists UK. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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