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Schools: Intelligent Design

Volume 687: debated on Monday 18 December 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Filkin on 21 February 2005 (WA 173), whether the Answer remains valid; and whether they adhere to the view that the scientific theory of intelligent design could be discussed in schools, being one of a range of views on evolution that students might consider or evaluate against the evidence. [HL713]

To meet the requirements of the national curriculum for science, teachers have to teach about scientific theories. Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory; therefore, it is not included in the science curriculum.

The science programme of study sets out the legal requirements of the national curriculum. It clearly states that pupils should be taught: how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change over time; the role of the scientific community in validating these changes; that variation within species can lead to evolutionary changes; and that similarities and differences between species can be measured and classified.

Intelligent design can be explored in religious education as part of developing an understanding of different beliefs. It is up to the local SACREs (standing advisory councils on religious education) to set the syllabus for how this should be done. The department is currently working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to communicate this message to schools.