It is unusual for politicians to admit that a policy they believed in and helped implement was not just wrong, but actually did harm. It is even more unusual for them to make a very public apology. But this is what the Swedish Green Party did last month, on the policy of Free Schools. In a national newspaper the party said, "Forgive us, our policy led our schools astray".
A good RE syllabus would allow young people to explore, without either naivety or unwarranted suspicion, how the world might look from different perspectives and to learn to think critically and with minds open to the possibilities as well as to the limitations and dangers of different political and cultural norms, says Alison Jasper. But how far the kind of organisations sponsoring the government's Free Schools is another question, she acknowledges.
On 12 May 2011 an open letter was sent to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, signed by key figures from both the scientific and religious communities. It calls for a change to the national Department for Education (DfE) guidelines to prevent creationism being taught, presented, or otherwise promoted as a valid scientific position to children in publicly-funded schools.