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God and science!

(38 Posts)
debs40 Mon 15-Sep-08 17:11:08

Ok, here's a problem. My son's state infant school which is not a faith school but has alot of Christians attending has started teaching 'God created the earth and then there was light etc etc' as part of the 'light and dark' science topic!

He is in Yr 1 and came home telling me all about it today. There was nothing to suggest this was taught as part of a discussion on theories about how the world came into being. It was taught as fact.

If this is right, this cannot be a legitimate way to teach a science topic can it? I wondered why the local evangelical church had adopted this school!

goodomen Mon 15-Sep-08 21:41:13

That can't be right.

All state schools whether they are faith schools or not have to teach the National Curriculum.

No teacher would ever teach that, no matter what their personal beleifs were. They would be sacked.

Maybe your ds got the wrong end of the stick? smile

My ds has just started reception and came back from his first day saying they had all been on a school trip to see Star Wars at the cinema!

If you are worried I would just ask his teacher.

avenanap Mon 15-Sep-08 21:48:02

I moved ds out of his last school for this and other reasons, this was the big one that did it though. I don't have a problem with balanced RE, this isn't balanced though. I would teach him what you want him to know and explain that others have different opinions and this is OK. I would have a chat with the teacher first though.

cthea Mon 15-Sep-08 21:48:36

Do they do science in year 1? (I can't remember when my DS started, he's yr 4 now.)

avenanap Mon 15-Sep-08 21:51:39

ds did about seeds, easy plant biology and all about me (as in parts of the body) in year 1. It's part of the national curriculum I think.

goodomen Mon 15-Sep-08 21:55:56

Can I just add that I don't know any educated or even vaguely intelligent Christians who beleive in the Bible's version of Creation.
Evoltuion and christianity are not mutually exclusive.

cthea Mon 15-Sep-08 22:00:48

How come they are not mutually exclusive? One says species evolved, the other that man came ready made.

goodomen Mon 15-Sep-08 22:19:52

cthea, no they don't. Christians beleive in God and that Jesus was the son of God.

Obviously there are many denominations but no religion I have come across has a beleif in the seven day bible version of creation as a prerequisite of the reliion.

I went to a Catholic Convent School and was taught by nuns (mainly) and we were taught about evolution in science lessons and discssed and analysed the bible text in Religious Studies.

Having taught Science in a Catholic school recently I can assure you that Creationism would never be taught as fact.

debs40 Mon 15-Sep-08 22:51:27

Thanks for your posts. I wouldn't be so worried if I didn't already have my doubts about this school. There is a massive evangelical community here - from the same local church which is not within the catchment area - and comments were already made over Easter which I deemed inappropriate.

Another mum was incensed last week about a picture she has seen in her son's class (there are three Year 1 classes) about God made the earth etc. I didn't think anything of it until I spoke to my son today about what he had been doing.

We were given a newsletter last week which told us they would be 'covering light and dark in science'. My son was excited about this and I asked him what he had learnt and he said 'there was darkness and then God created the earth and then there was light'.This fitted in completely with the picture the other mum had seen

I told him that not everyone believed this and he was really confused and said his teacher told him that is how it happened.

It is clearly being mentioned across the classes and even if it is being mentioned as an aside, telling the children what some people believe, this is not filtering through to them and is inappropriate.

The other mum is a teacher herself and she is seeing the Head tomorrow.

avenanap Mon 15-Sep-08 23:19:15

It's supposto be balanced. I moved ds out of a private school because he was being told to shut up when he was being taught this and was asking about where the other religions fit in.

I thought light and dark was about the spectrum and the position of the sun in relation to the earth???

debs40 Mon 15-Sep-08 23:22:31


madlentileater Mon 15-Sep-08 23:23:18

ask to see the scheme of work for science that term. ask how it fulfills the national curriculum

Northumberlandlass Tue 16-Sep-08 07:48:30

Hiya Debs, in my DS school outside of every class room is a list of the topics covered on a weekly and term basis. There are usually bullet points for each section of what aspects they are covering and what this will / hopefully achieve. Do your school not publish the topics for the term ? I do think this is a big deal and you should be aware of what your DC is being taught. I find it strange that they are teaching 'creation theory' as fact.

I would definatly approach the school and ask them for a copy of their policy re science / RE.

KatyMac Tue 16-Sep-08 07:56:56

Isn't the church 'about to' or 'just has' apologised to Darwin

I'm sure I heard that on the radio

debs40 Tue 16-Sep-08 08:13:01

They have sent a newsletter telling us they are teaching 'light and dark' as a science topic. I did not expect this to come into it!

madlentileater Tue 16-Sep-08 09:32:07

maybe this is topic teaching gone mad. Back in the day, before the NC, you would teach by topics, say 1 per half term, so if the topic was 'light and dark' you'd do light in science, poems about the sun, maths might be measuring shadows, in RE you'd do 'lightness into dark' in history you might look at the discovery of get the idea. maybe your ds is reporting what happened in his RS lessons? rather than n the science, certainly bloody hope so. dex.aspx this tells you whathey should be doing in KS1 re light. hth

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:37:31

I think this is a huge problem- we have had it with evangelical Christians spouting their beliefs in our children's community primary school.
Teaching religion in science lessons is not on, and I think you should complain in writing, and write to the governors.

this article in Sunday's Observer is quite relevant.
Creationists are trying to creep into mainsttream education and it should be questioned and stopped imo.
Rant over....

I found this link todayaccord which is interesting.

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:41:17

cthea- one would hope that most intelligent thoughtful Christians would take most of the stories in the bible as metaphor, which I think they tend to do.
Anyway- the bible has so many contradictions and opposing stories, the same story told by different people, it would be bonkers to take it all literally... as creationists do... in part. Bonkers...hmm

TheFallenMadonna Tue 16-Sep-08 10:45:37

My understanding of the Royal Society thing was that creationism would be used in opposition to evolution - to demonstrate the difference between a scientific and a non-scientific theory. Which seems reasonable to me. I teach biology and in my last school the creation story was regularly brought up by pupils when we 'did' evolution. I did just that. Is that discussing creationism? I suppose it is. But it isn't teaching it.

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:51:00

But since it's a non scientific story, it has no place in a science lesson- surely that's the point? In re or whatever, but not science.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 16-Sep-08 10:54:46

The children bring it into the classroom. Recognising that children are not actually a blank slate when it comes to teaching is pretty important. In all areas really there are misconceptions to be recognised and addressed.

I don't know about all schools. I suspect it would be different with different demographics. But as I said, it was almost always mentioned by pupils where I taught.

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:55:29

The difficulty are there though aren't they?- when children who've been brought up to believe the stories, respect for their beliefs etc, it is very tricky. It is dismissing a religious belief, so as a teacher you're betwen a rock and a hard place.
The thing that troubles me, is the evangelicals who tell our children these things in the class room- we have had a lot of it and I really believe it's wrong to spread their word to our kids. Very wrong.

Education and religion should be seperate.

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:56:57

cross posts... yes. I agree. And obviously any discussion which broadens a child's view point is enriching, and should take place.

northernrefugee39 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:58:02

Discussion as oppose to insiduous creeping indoctrination....

TheFallenMadonna Tue 16-Sep-08 10:58:09

There is no need to dismiss a religious belief. It is a matter of explaining what a scientific theory is, and why creationism is not a scientific theory. There is no dismissing of belief in that, and no validation of them either. It is separating religion and science. Explicitly in fact.

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