source: British Humanist Association e-bulletin, 22 June 2009 & BHA site.
What is the issue?
In January 2008 the Government commissioned a review looking at both the organisation and content of the National Curriculum taught in primary schools in England. The review was lead by Sir Jim Rose. His final report was published on 30 April 2009.
The changes that have been proposed by the Rose Review have now been put out to public consultation. The consultation is being conducted by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The public consultation will run until 24 July 2009, after which point the Government will consider how to proceed.
The BHA broadly welcomes the proposed new curriculum. However, we have particular concerns regarding the new ‘scientific and technological understanding’ area of learning, which is one of six new ‘areas of learning’ that have been put forward as the new structure of the curriculum.
Our main concern is that the ‘scientific and technological understanding’ area of learning makes no requirement for pupils to learn about and investigate the concepts of natural selection and evolution. We believe that the theory of evolution – arguably the single most important idea underlying the life sciences today – must be included in the primary curriculum.
The wealth of new educational resources on evolution available for children of primary school age demonstrates their ability to grasp the simpler concepts associated with it, and a basic understanding of evolution will help lay the foundation for a surer scientific understanding later on in children’s school life.
With 2009 being the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, the omission of evolution from the curriculum of primary schools is scandalous.
What can be done?
Please write to your MP, urging them to support the inclusion of natural selection and evolution in the primary curriculum. You can use our online facility to email your MP directly at http://tinyurl.com/evolutioninprimaryschool.
Please also make a submission to the QCA’s public consultation, which you can do by downloading the consultation questionnaire online at http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_22265.aspx.
You can read the BHA's own response to the consultation at http://tinyurl.com/bhaprimaryreviewsubmission.
Here the BHA not only make more detailed comments about other weakness in ‘scientific and technological understanding’, but also in some of the other areas of learning. If you agree with the BHA's comments in these other areas then please do consider responding to these sections of the consultation as well.
If you are a teacher, please explore the possibility of your school making a response to the consultation to urge for the changes we are looking for.
If you are a member of a political party, you can write to the education contact or spokesperson of your party to urge them to support the changes we are seeking. For Labour, this is Rt Hon. Ed Balls MP on email@example.com, for Conservatives this is Michael Gove MP on firstname.lastname@example.org, for Liberal Democrats this is David Laws on email@example.com.
Please do all the above insofar as you are in a position to do so.
Please copy any submissions you make or correspondence you enter into on this subject to Paul Pettinger at the BHA (firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to British Humanist Association, 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD).