UK Adopts New School Curriculum

There’s good news from our cousins in the UK. In The Independent, a national daily newspaper published in London, we read: The Government introduces tougher curriculum to boost standards. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

New draft curricula for English, maths and science in primary schools were published by the Government today, which it says will help to boost standards. Under the plans, pupils will be expected to memorise their times tables up to 12 by age nine, multiply and divide fractions by age 11 and begin to learn and recite poetry at five years old.

That sounds very nice, but what about creationism? Be patient, dear reader. It’s coming:

But the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) raised concerns that politicians had presented a “heavily prescribed curriculum” that will leave little chance for teachers to excite children and adapt lessons to suit their pupils.

Yeah, well, excitement is very fine, but it’s important to learn the basics. Let’s read on:

The new science curriculum calls for pupils to be taught topics such as static electricity, magnetism and the basic parts of a simple electrical circuit.

The solar system and galaxies, which are not in the current curriculum for primary schools, are also included, as well as life cycles, including reproduction, the human circulatory system and evolution.

Evolution? Did they say evolution? Actually, there’s more specific information at the website of the British Humanist Association, where we read this: BHA welcomes plans to add evolution to primary curriculum. They say:

Evolution is to be included in the primary curriculum, it has today been announced. The Department for Education (DfE) has published its draft primary National Curriculum for science, which includes the teaching of evolution from year four (age 8-9). The British Humanist Association (BHA) spearheaded the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism’ campaign calling for just this change, and is delighted at the news.

Good for them! The BHA continues:

[T]he BHA came together with 30 leading scientists and four other organisations to launch a new campaign website, ‘Teach evolution, not creationism’. The campaign argued that ‘An understanding of evolution is central to understanding all aspects of biology. The teaching of evolution should be included at both primary and secondary levels in the National Curriculum and in all schools.’ It was also supported by an e-petition that has so far garnered over 23,000 signatures.

We’ll skip the details of their campaign. Besides, we wrote a bit about it last year (see UK Proposal To Ban Creationism). It’s the results that matter. Here’s more:

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘We are delighted that evolution will be added to the primary curriculum – something that we have long advocated. Teaching this core concept from an earlier age will give pupils a much stronger understanding of the life sciences and of how we came to be. The Government must be commended for making this change, and we look forward to working with them to ensure this proposal becomes reality.’

They’re delighted; we’re delighted. And we know who undoubtedly isn’t delighted. We expect to hear a bit of grumbling from the creationists, and it ought to be amusing. We love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “UK Adopts New School Curriculum

  1. The recently-published U.S. National Research Council standards are pretty good too. They lay out four “core ideas” for the life sciences that should be taught as unifying themes throughout the primary-secondary series of science classes. The preface to all four core ideas talks about evolution as a unifying theme, plus two of the core ideas are evolutionary (number 3 = mechanisms of inheritance and variation, and number 4 = changes to populations over time).

    Those standards aren’t mandatory, of course, and states like Kansas may end up rejecting them. But at this point I think the U.S.’ problem is not a lack of good, available curriculum guidelines and standards for states to follow. We have those. Its just a problem of implementation.

  2. NeonNoodle

    I think the Brits are just more highly evolved, sorry to say. That’s based entirely on firsthand observation. We have UK exchange interns in my office every summer. Perhaps they’re the cream of the crop, I don’t know. But there’s no question they’re more articulate than their American counterparts of the same age, with a command of language that no modern Yankee teenager approaches. I’m always embarrassed when they see modern American TV shows, or read the local news headlines. I feel like crawling under a rock sometimes.

  3. Good idea. As a creationist kid in primary school, my classmates believed in evolution but weren’t educated in how it worked. I remember as a result they said stupid things as though evolution were powered by some conscious agency. I remember one kid claiming that humans were now being born without appendices as a result of evolution.

    I was smart enough to see that these didn’t make sense, but not educated enough to know that these were distorted ideas about natural selection, so they just confirmed my bias that evolution was for idiots.

  4. But . . .but . . Curmy!

    Governments telling schools what they can teach?

    Isn’t that sociali . . . Marx . . commu . . . . just plain unTexan?