BHA responds to latest English national curriculum consultation

8 August, 2013

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today responded to the latest consultation as part of the review of the English national curriculum. The consultation finalises programmes of study and attainment targets for key stages 1 to 3 of the new curriculum, which will be taught in maintained schools from September 2014.

In its response, the BHA said the following:

  • Science – sex education: There has been some progress in this area since the previous draft, but there still remain a number of serious omissions which will see pupils let down. Some topics such as sexual health, contraception, pregnancy, STIs, HIV and AIDS are in the current national curriculum but not the draft.
  • Science – evolution: We urge that evolution is not pushed back from year six, as it is vital that the subject is introduced at primary school.
  • Science – scientific method: We are concerned that there is no mention of the nature of evidence, whether evidence is reliable and why it might not be, causation and correlation.
  • Citizenship: We strongly welcome the re-addition of human rights to the curriculum (omitted in the previous draft), although regret the continued exclusion of equalities and freedom of speech.
  • History: We urge that the modern increase in non-religious beliefs and identities – such a vital and dramatic part of English history – should be taught about.

BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘There are some things about this curriculum to like, such as the addition of evolution to the primary national curriculum. However, there is much that needs to be improved in order to ensure that every young person receives the full and comprehensive sex education to which they are entitled; a strong grounding in science and the scientific method; an understanding of human rights and equality and their place in modern society; and the impact of the social changes of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the rise in the number of non-religious British citizens.’


For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at or on 020 7324 3072.

Read the BHA’s response:

The BHA also responded to the previous national curriculum consultation and consultation on secondary school accountability; last year’s consultations on reforming key stage 4 qualifications and the first draft primary national curriculum, as well as Ofqual’s consultation on A Level reform; and the 2011 call for evidence on national curriculum reform. In addition, the BHA has also responded to the PSHE Review; to both phases of the Religious Education Council’s RE Subject Review, as well as acting as an expert witness; to the All Party Parliamentary Group for RE’s inquiry on teachers; and to the Labour Party’s two consultations on the school curriculum and consultation on the ‘middle tier’.

Coming up are the Government’s consultations on GCSE subject content and assessments and on primary assessment and accountability, as well as Ofqual’s consultation on GCSE reform.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on the school curriculum:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes Humanism and a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.