The British Humanist Association (BHA) has reacted to news that there are at least 40 schools in Britain which teach creationism in science lessons.
The figures were revealed in a report broadcast on More 4 News on Tuesday, and are the result of inquiries made to 50 Evangelical, Jewish and Muslim schools.
Andrew Copson, BHA Director of Education and Public Affairs said: "It is appalling that there are thousands of children in Britain who are being taught that evolution is a myth and creationism a fact.
"It is even worse that almost 1,000 of those children attend schools funded by taxpayers, which teach creationism despite national guidance that it has no place in the science classroom.
"We are glad that the government is currently producing new guidance on how to deal with creationism in schools but it is crucial that school inspectors are also trained to check faith schools rigorously for the teaching of creationism or intelligent design."
The BHA has written to the Education Minister Ed Balls urging greater effort in promoting good science education in all schools.
The report broadcast on More 4 News on Tuesday 2 July 2008 found that 14 of the 19 Jewish schools that responded teach creationism, along with all 21 of the Evangelical schools following the Accelerated Christian Education syllabus that responded, and 5 of the 10 Islamic schools that responded.
In all there are 5,822 pupils in the schools teaching creationism mentioned in the report. Of these, 992 are in one of the 5 state schools that admitted teaching it.
Mainstream theologians and religious leaders reject creationism as a distorted reading of the Bible and other religious texts.
See Ekklesia's briefing here: - 'Theology, science and the problem of Intelligent Design' - http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/6707