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Evolution coming early to England

Evolution is to be added to the primary national curriculum in England, gratifying scientists and educators who have been campaigning for its addition over the last three years. In 2009, the British Humanist Association coordinated a letter (PDF) from top scientists and science educators in Britain calling for the addition of evolution to the primary curriculum. Although the government indicated in 2009 that evolution would indeed be added as part of the reform of the primary national curriculum called for by the Children, Schools, and Families bill, the relevant part of the bill was tabled in Parliament in 2010. Then in September 2011, as NCSE reported, a group of scientists renewed the call for evolution to be taught "at both primary and secondary levels in the National Curriculum and in all schools."

Now, in the new draft of the primary national curriculum for science, posted (PDF) at the Department of Education's website on June 11, 2012, students in year 4 (ages 8 and 9) are introduced to the ideas of adaptation, inheritance, and evolution, and students in year 6 (ages 10 and 11) are introduced to the fossil record as evidence for evolution. The British Humanist Association's Andrew Copson said, in a press release dated June 11, 2012, "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."