Schools to teach 'Adam and Eve' theory

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The Independent Online

MPs have expressed fears that the Government's education reforms could lead to children being taught a concept that contradicts Darwin's theory of evolution.

They have warned that "intelligent design", which suggests human beings were created by God rather than through natural selection, could become a mainstream subject in some schools.

MPs have written to Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Education, sayingthe increased control to be offered to sponsors of the new trust schools could lead to evangelical Christian bodies taking over the curriculum.

Teaching of intelligent design, favoured by some evangelical Christians, has led to a row in the United States between parents and Christian groups. MPs yesterday warned that the Government's reforms would make it easier for it to be taught in England.

Intelligent design holds that nature is so complex and perfect it must have been the work of a creator rather than the result of natural selection. Opponents believe this supports the theory of creationism - that the world was created by God, as described inGenesis, the first book of the Bible. City Academies funded by evangelical Christians already insist on a Christian ethos in the school.

A report by Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, published yesterday, said parents could have their right to complain about religious treatment removed under the proposals for trust schools.

The reports also saidthe reforms could contravene a child's right to manifest their religion under the Human Rights Act.

Churches and Christian groups are among those who will be encouraged by the Government to run the new state trust schools. They will be given unprecedented control over the schools' governors, with new freedom about what is taught in the classroom.

A spokeswoman for the Vardy Academies said the schools did operate in a Christian context, but she denied creationism was taught as part of the curriculum. She said intelligent design would only be discussed in the context of a sixth-form philosophy and current affairs course.