Monday, 19 October 2009

Teaching of evolution in the primary curriculum

There was a petition recently as follows:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to include the teaching of evolution by natural selection in the new national primary curriculum.”

The PM's office has now responded (the following answer follows a load of old flannel about needing scientists for the country's growth, etc):

The proposed new primary curriculum has been developed in consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders including primary head teachers, teachers, subject specialists and learned societies. The development of the scientific and technological understanding area of learning was directly informed by the outcomes of the consultation exercise to ensure that it contained the scientific knowledge, skills and understanding considered essential learning for children aged 5 -11.

The National Curriculum science programmes of study cover evolution explicitly in Key Stage 4 (age 14 -16). The understanding of evolution is underpinned by extensive knowledge about the living world. This underpinning knowledge and understanding for evolution is carefully developed in the primary curriculum and at Key Stage 3 (age 11 -14). In both the current primary programme of study for science and in the proposed programme of learning for scientific and technological understanding, variation between individuals and groups, classification and interdependence are all introduced. At secondary level these areas are developed further and genetics, selection and evolution are all included. In this way the fundamental concepts underpinning evolution are developed, leading to a fuller understanding at Key Stage 4.

Or, to put it briefly (if I'm reading this properly), the answer to the petition is "not quite".

Okay - so they've made their decision on science.

"key stakeholders", "outcomes of the consultation exercise"?

When is someone going to teach the PM's office some plain English?

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