ACADEMIES, THE CURRICULUM AND CREATIONISM
They can depart from the National Curriculum but..
While publicly funded independent schools ie academies/free schools will continue to have the freedom to depart from the new national curriculum, where they consider that to be in the best interests of their students, the Government is keen to stress ‘they are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum’. As is the case now, the government envisages that’ many such schools will, in practice, continue to offer the national curriculum, and they will be accountable to parents and their local communities for any decisions they take.’ There have been concerns that Academies and Free Schools will be teaching ‘Creationism’. There has been much scaremongering about this issue but frankly the threat that creationists will gain a foothold in Free Schools is slim to negligible.
This is the Governments attempt to address this particular concern: ‘Free Schools are not permitted to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory in any subject and the Government would not approve any school that intended to do so. The model funding agreement for free schools requires that free schools shall not make provision in the context of any subject for the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations. (Lords PQ 28 August).’
In short, the funding agreement between the DFE and Free School offers a significant safeguard, and self-evidently school inspectors will continue to monitor what is being taught in schools. Parents can also alert Ofsted to any concerns they might have.