Anti-science textbooks teaching creationism used in schools

Posted: Wed, 31st May 2023

Anti-science textbooks teaching creationism used in schools

Textbooks which present the theory of evolution as a conspiracy theory are being used in UK schools, a new report has revealed.

Researchers from UCL found textbooks published by Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), one of the world's largest fundamentalist Christian education groups, presented climate change denial as a fact and described evolution as an 'absurd and discredited' conspiracy.

The latest editions of the textbooks claim to show evidence that human-caused climate change is not real. They say God has a plan to prepare a new heaven and Earth with a better climate.

Despite claims by the curriculum's developers that its materials allow students to make up their own minds about evolution, the textbooks describe those who accept evolution as making an "immoral choice", with their belief being "driven by a determination to sin and to rebel against God."

ACE materials also malign the scientific community and those who accept scientific findings about evolution, cosmology, or any other field that challenges young-Earth dogma.

The report also found students are not exposed to any ideas contrary to ACE's literal interpretation of the Bible until Year 9. This is contrary to the legal requirement that schools teach a "broad and balanced curriculum", the report argues.

Although 11 schools in England and Northern Ireland are officially affiliated with ACE, due to the secretive nature of the organisations involved the actual number of schools employing ACE resources may be substantially higher.

Independent faith schools have previously been subject to regulatory action after being found teaching creationism.

The report's lead author, Dr Jenna Scaramanga, questioned how schools which rely heavily on ACE publications passed Ofsted inspections, given that the materials "clearly fail" to provide a broad and balanced science education and to teach respect for different beliefs.

Dr Scaramanga also said the way children are taught science through ACE makes them more susceptible to believing other conspiracy theories.

NSS: 'Action needed from Ofsted and DfE'

Jack Rivington, campaigns officer at the National Secular Society, said: "This report should prompt further investigation by both Ofsted and the DfE.

"The promotion of creationism and climate change denial, along with the denigration of those who accept scientific theories, is clearly inconsistent with schools' responsibility to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and promote respect for others.

"As the report makes clear, ACE's efforts at indoctrination can be deeply harmful to those on the receiving end. Authorities must now act swiftly to protect the right to an education for all children."

Image: From 7th Grade Science Pace Set by ACE

Tags: Faith schools