“I am a supply teacher. Normally I cover English, but on this occasion I was asked to cover Science. I got chatting to the year 10 students, and not a single one in a class of close to thirty had any idea what evolution was, and scoffed at any of my (gentle) challenges to creationism.”
As of 2014 it is illegal in all publicly-funded schools, including Academies and Free Schools, to teach pseudoscientific ideas such as creationism or intelligent design as scientifically valid. Schools may still teach creation stories as part of RE, but at no stage must children be encouraged to believe that these stories are factual.
Specifically, all state schools are required to teach ‘a broad and balanced curriculum’, and the UK Government has decided that to teach creationism as scientifically valid would not be being balanced. In addition, the Academy and Free School model funding agreement stipulates that ‘The Academy Trust must not allow any view or theory to be taught as evidence-based if it is contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations. This clause applies to all subjects taught at the Academy.’ In addition, ‘The Academy Trust must provide for the teaching of evolution as a comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidenced theory’.
All state schools are also required to teach evolution – either because they are a community, voluntary or foundation school, bound to follow the national curriculum which in science includes modules on evolution in years six and ten, or because they are an Academy or Free School, whose funding agreements oblige its teaching ‘as a comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidenced theory.’.
Despite this, private schools are still allowed to teach pseudoscience and creationism as fact and to dismiss evolution or not teach it at all, and many continue to exercise those rights. Ofsted does not inspect them on these matters.