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Good news for evolution in Britain

The British government recently clarified and extended its ban on teaching creationism in academies, according to a June 18, 2014, press release from the British Humanist Association, which congratulated the government "on its robust stand on this issue." 

Academies, including free schools, in Britain are similar to charter schools in the United States, and as with charter schools, there are concerns about whether creationism is taught in such institutions that are sponsored or operated by religious groups with creationist views.

As NCSE previously reported, in 2012, owing to pressure from the scientific establishment, the British government adopted a policy requiring free schools to "make provision for the teaching of evolution as a comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidenced theory."

The policy applied only to free schools, however, not to all academies, and only to future free schools: according to the Guardian (November 29, 2012), three free schools run by groups with openly creationist views were approved before the policy was adopted.

"Now the Government has extended such an explicit rule to all new Academies and Free Schools and made it clear that it believes that existing rules mean that no Academy or Free School can teach pseudoscience," BHA's Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal explained in the press release.

Additionally, new model funding agreements for church academies require the parties to acknowledge the requirement to teach evolution and not to teach creationism, describing the latter as not according with the scientific consensus or established scientific evidence.