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Charedi school cleared over evolution complaint

Barnet Council says Beis Yaakov Primary is complying with requirements of national curriculum

    Barnet Council has cleared a state-aided Orthodox primary girls’ school following a complaint that it was not teaching about evolution.

    The National Secular Society, which has long campaigned against faith schools, wrote to the Department for Education to take action over Beis Yaakov in Colindale, north-west London.

    According to the society, an online visitor’s guide to the school said it accepted 5778 as the age of the universe and did not teach or discuss evolution “in any form”.

    Some aspects of evolution form part of the science national curriculum which voluntary-aided faith schools are supposed to teach.

    The school’s “refusal to teach or discuss evolution… clearly indicated the school is in breach of its legal obligation and should face sanction”, the NSS wrote.

    The DfE asked Barnet Council to investigate.

    A spokesman for Barnet said “the local authority has visited the school to follow up the issues outlined in the letter to the DfE, and the school has addressed the concerns that were raised and was able to show that they were compliant in the delivery of the statutory aspects of the national curriculum.”

    A spokesman for Beis Yaakov said the NSS had referred “to an outdated visitors’ guide written 20 years ago, before the school came into the state sector and it is not reflective of current practice in the school. Beis Yaakov is judged good by Ofsted and delivers all statutory aspects of the national curriculum.”

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