It seems that when they wrote to the government, the British Humanist Association jumped the gun. Now, the BHA have not yet returned my calls or emails, so I might be doing them an injustice, but it seems that they wrote a letter without checking their facts.
The BHA complained to the government that they objected to the accreditation of creationist qualifications. Their mistake was to say that it was out of Naric’s remit to consider the content of a curriculum. This is the impression you would get from reading the TES article (see my further reading page). The BHA want Naric’s remit to be expanded so that this does not happen again.
There’s just one problem: Naric’s remit does cover curriculum content. I spoke to Tim Buttress of UK Naric this morning, and he told me,
“It is something that we consider. Content of a qualification is integral to it, but the point I was making to the journalist is it’s not our job to be setting the curriculum. The confusion possibly arose in what he was thinking I said and what was actually being said.”
Now, I have no idea if Mr. Buttress was misrepresented in the TES article, or if he has changed his story. But essentially, the TES article said Naric’s excuse for validating this pathetic curriculum was: “Don’t blame us, we only look at academic rigour, not course content.”
Whereas now their excuse is, “Don’t blame us, we didn’t write the curriculum.”
This does not seem to be a huge improvement.
So anyway, the BHA appear to have written a letter to the government asking them to change Naric’s remit, when a call to Naric would have confirmed that Naric’s remit already does what it should. Tim Buttress said that Naric was never shown any of the curriculum materials that contain claims about the Loch Ness Monster or apartheid. It seems unlikely that Naric’s inspectors didn’t see any Creationist nonsense in their inspections, though, because the curriculum is crawling with it. Indeed, if the inspectors didn’t see anything like that, they obviously didn’t look very hard at the curriculum.
ICCE chairman [sic] Brenda Lewis would probably say that’s not likely, because she told the TES, “we were taken aback by how thorough they were.”
So one way or another, Naric has made an error. Either they have not looked at the curriculum thoroughly, or they have looked at the curriculum thoroughly, seen the appalling errors it contains, and validated it anyway. Which seems more likely? Well, according to Ms. Lewis:
“Naric were delighted with the school… They loved the atmosphere and ethos… Very surprisingly, the examiners went on to say that they loved the Biblical teaching. They loved the emphasis on Godly character and virtue in the ACE system… It’s amazing.”
Interesting that Tim Buttress didn’t choose to mention any of that to the TES.
Anyway, Mr. Buttress told me that he would try to get a copy of Naric’s original report on ICCE. He also said that, since my letter, Naric has been in contact with ICCE to discuss the points I raised. He said he would make some phone calls and update me when he knows what progress has happened. I will continue to press Naric on this.