Evolution to join the National Curriculum

The Government has announced that the teaching of evolution will be a legal requirement in science teaching at primary schools from September 2011, although it will be left to schools to decide how it is done.

The new curriculum is to include a requirement “to investigate and explain how plants and animals are ‘interdependent’ and are diverse and adapted to their environment by natural selection”.

The move is particularly notable as it comes despite a drive to slim down the national curriculum for primary schools and leave teachers greater discretion over what to teach. The consultation on proposals to loosen the number of formal topics was however seen as an opportunity by scientific campaigners, and lead to a popular and successful e-petition to Downing Street calling for evolution to be included on the national curriculum.