Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Rule, Britannia!

The British Government has responded to a petition that asks:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent the use of creationist and other pseudo-scientific propaganda in Government-funded schools.
The response was:

The Government remains committed ensuring (sic) that young people have an understanding of the importance of science and the world around them.

Science is a core subject of the National Curriculum throughout every Key Stage. The National Curriculum secures for all pupils, irrespective of background and ability, an entitlement to a range of areas of learning. Its aim is to develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes necessary for each pupil's self-fulfilment and development as an active and responsible citizen. It makes expectations for learning and attainment explicit to pupils, parents, teachers, governors, employers and the public, and establishes national standards for the performance of all pupils. All materials that support the teaching, learning and assessment of primary and secondary education, can be found on the National Curriculum website.

The Government is aware that a number of concerns have been raised in the media and elsewhere as to whether creationism and intelligent design have a place in science lessons. The Government is clear that creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science. The science programmes of study set out the legal requirements of the science National Curriculum. They focus on the nature of science as a subject discipline, including what constitutes scientific evidence and how this is established. Students learn about scientific theories as established bodies of scientific knowledge with extensive supporting evidence, and how evidence can form the basis for experimentation to test hypotheses. In this context, the Government would expect teachers to answer pupils' questions about creationism, intelligent design, and other religious beliefs within this scientific framework.

We will be publishing guidance for schools, on the way creationism and intelligent design relate to science teaching. It will be possible to ensure that the weight of scientific opinion is properly presented. The guidance will be available on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority website in due course.
Okay, that's classic bureaucratese ... but it's so much better bureaucratese than we get in this country! We should start importing the stuff!

Clearly, the Plain English Campaign is having some effect. I rather like the Quote of the Day on their website today:

Cloudy, slimy sentences are the first sign of bad government; plain English is always the democrat's best defence.
(Andrew Marr)
Hey! If it wasn't for bad government, we wouldn't have any government at all!
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How to Support Science Education