For nearly 20 years, I taught science in comprehensive schools in England and Wales. (These sort of schools would be referred to as “public high schools” in the USA). During this time, I rarely had a clash between faith and teaching my subject.
I left teaching in 1999. Since then, successive UK governments have whittled away at the Christian basis of British education, especially in England, to the extent that there is a serious and unwarranted clash between worldviews. This has been illustrated by the recent consultation by the British government of early years education. The results of this consultation, and the actions proposed, have been criticized by the organization Christian Concern, which campaigns on ad highlights legal issues of concern in the UK.
The government issued a set of consultation questions, and invited answers. None of these questions concerned creation. Yet of the 678 replies received by the government, 450 expressed “opposition to early education funding going to providers who they believe promote extremist views or teach creationism as scientific fact”. It is worth repeating, the government did not ask about creationism in their questionnaire. Moreover, of these 450 comments, 281 had not even bothered to answer ANY of the government's questions, but had merely submitted the same cut-and-paste comment. Even the BBC, not normally a friend of evangelical Christianity, noted that these responses were the result of a deliberate and orchestrated campaign by the British Humanist Association.
Surely, if this were any other subject, the government would have ignored the responses created by a coordinated letter-writing campaign. But in this case, they appear to have endorsed these concerns. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has introduced regulations which include the chilling, Orwellian phrase “An excluded provider is defined as an independent school that: does not meet the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils set out in the Independent Schools Standards; does not actively promote fundamental British values; or promotes, as evidence-based, views and theories which are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations.” While I can take some pleasure at the reintroduction of the concept of “spiritual development” in English education, British parents need to be very concerned at this attempt to regulate what is taught in independent schools. It is important to note the disturbing attempt to equate creation with extremism in these comments. Also, the concept of so-called “British Values” has been defined elsewhere in government circles as “gender-neutral and non-homophobic”. It must be clear where such language will take us.
Christian Concern have taken up this cause as a campaign. They are asking Christian parents to make their own responses, before the consultation period ends at 5pm (British time) on Friday October 17th 2014. I would just like to add my own ex-pat voice to this in support of Christian Concern's position