After having a pop at the Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo (Alice Roberts visits The UK’s creationist zoo), Alice Roberts has taken aim at the Christian Schools Trust’s actions in teaching creationism to kids (Alice Roberts: children ‘indoctrinated’ by lessons in creationism). According to the article (which is based on an interview in TES), the Christian Schools Trust is actively teaching creationism:
The TV presenter, who is the new president of the Association for Science Education, said that teaching about creationism alongside evolution risked closing pupils’ minds to scientific discoveries.
Her comments came as it emerged that the Christian Schools’ Trust – a network of 40 independent schools – confirmed that teaching about creationism in science was common in its institutions.
The Trust said there was “strong sympathy to Young Earth, six-day creation” in its schools but insisted this did not amount to indoctrination.
Appalling news. Unfortunately as independent schools, these 40 establishments appear to be immune from the requirements to follow the national curriculum:
The new national curriculum for primary schools, due to be introduced this September, contains a clear requirement for pupils to be taught about evolution.
But the curriculum only applies to state schools, not private schools. State-funded academies and free schools can also choose not to follow it.
This is pretty shabby news, especially the comment that academies and free schools are free to ignore the curriculum and teach anti-scientific bronze age drivel. Perhaps the comments of a high-profile Professor of Public Engagement in Science (and the new President of the Association for Science Education) will have a significant effect.
A similar article at The Guardian’s website (Ban the teaching of creationism in science lessons, says Alice Roberts) covers the same stuff:
In an interview with the Times Educational Supplement (TES), Prof Roberts, who has presented a number of BBC programmes including The Incredible Human Journey and Origins of Us, said: “There should be regulation that prevents all schools, not just state schools, from teaching creationism because it is indoctrination, it is planting ideas into children’s heads. We should be teaching children to be much more open-minded.
“People who believe in creationism say that by teaching evolution you are indoctrinating them with science, but I just don’t agree with that. Science is about questioning things. It’s about teaching people to say, ‘I don’t believe it until we have very strong evidence’.”