Headteacher mocked on Twitter for claiming evolution is not a fact

Feb 4, 2016

Photo credit: St Andrew’s C of E primary

By Harriet Sherwood

A primary school headteacher has been mocked on Twitter after claiming that evolution was “a theory” and there was “more evidence that the Bible is true”.

Christina Wilkinson, of St Andrew’s Church of England school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, made the remarks in a tweet responding to London headteacher Tom Sherrington, who urged teachers to stick to science when teaching the origins of life.

Wilkinson wrote: “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”

Amid criticism and calls for her to resign on Twitter, Wilkinson issued a statement saying: “I’d like to make it clear that we teach the full national curriculum in school and that our pupils receive a fully rounded education.”

She also said her tweet was sent from a personal account and “represents my own views”. However, her Twitter handle was @WilkinsonHead, apparently referencing her role as headteacher. The tweet has since been taken down and the account closed.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

21 comments on “Headteacher mocked on Twitter for claiming evolution is not a fact

  • @OP – Christina Wilkinson, of St Andrew’s Church of England school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, made the remarks in a tweet responding to London headteacher Tom Sherrington, who urged teachers to stick to science when teaching the origins of life.

    Wilkinson wrote: “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory!

    It’s what happens when the theocratic governing body of a faith-school appoints scientific illiterates as headteachers!
    . . . . People appointed in charge of schools teaching science who don’t know what a scientific theory is!!!

    There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”

    . . .and who have no idea what historical evidence is either!!

    Fortunately in England, the government inspectors of OFSTED would jump on any incompetent caught teaching this crap as curriculum science!
    (As they did in the Trojan Horse schools).



    Report abuse

  • @OP link – Graham Jones, Labour MP for Hyndburn, whose constituency includes Wilkinson’s school, said: “It’s a Church of England school and it will, of course, teach the Bible. But it should also teach the children about other religions and beliefs.

    That is permitted in a faith-school, but it would be more useful to teach ABOUT the Bible and other religious texts.

    “The national curriculum requires a more broad-based perception of evolution and a balance of opinions has to be struck so pupils can make up their own minds.

    Another babbling illiterate politician who has not read or understood the STATUTORY curriculum documents which are supposed to be taught in schools in his constituency!!

    http://www.primarycurriculum.me.uk/year6/science (9+10+11 year olds)

    Primary Curriculum 2014

    Sc6/1 Working Scientifically

    During years 5 and 6, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

    Sc6/1.1 planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary

    Sc6/1.2 taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision

    Sc6/1.3 recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, and bar and line graphs

    Sc6/1.4 using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests

    Sc6/1.5 using simple models to describe scientific ideas

    Sc6/1.6 reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations

    Sc6/1.7 identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

    Sc6/2.1 Living Things and their habitats

    Sc6/2.1a describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals

    Sc6/2.1b give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.

    Sc6/2.3 Evolution

    Sc6/2.3a recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago

    Sc6/3.2b recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

    Sc6/2.3c identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.

    Perhaps the headteacher and the local councillor should be sent to a primary school science class to learn the basics!!! – Maybe with some help from educated children???



    Report abuse

  • Maybe stupidity of this magnitude is the norm in schools in the buybull belt in the USA but it should be grounds for sacking in this country. No one who is witless enough to think that evolution is unproven should be allowed to teach children.



    Report abuse

  • For myself, the best evidence (amongst the many!) for evolution is that ALL life on earth is based on DNA and the indisputable fact that we have a 98% DNA congruence with chimps! How could a bible follower possibly explain this!?



    Report abuse

  • Erol
    Feb 5, 2016 at 4:27 am

    How could a bible follower possibly explain this!?

    The ones who I have seen try to deny any sort of solid scientific evidence, explain that magic fairies can do anything, including arranging deceptions to mislead the unfaithful, so all material evidence can be dismissed by those wishing to preserve their delusions!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Pope_Pius_IX

    “9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.” (Vatican Council I)



    Report abuse

  • Why do governments (or churches and other groups) provide education?
    I’m sure it is from all sorts or (confused) motives, but I am as certain as I can be that Altruism is not one of them?
    In my last 5 years or so in education I witnessed a stunning decline and a change from a sort of trudge through an optimistic fog to a complete loss of direction. Education became more obviously a competition and as a competition requires clarity to identify success and failure, simple quantitative tables replaced meaningful assessment. Winning is the only thing was a meme borrowed from (and more suitably left) from sport, and the simplistic determination of “winner” by attained grades left an association that “Faith” schools were delivering success. And in terms of how success was defined – they were.
    But what is the point of education? I don’t think there is a simple answer, but I would say in a sweeping generalisation, that it is to “Civilise” and that does not just mean equipping kids with enough facts to enable them to stack shelves, appreciate junk TV and vote for unscrupulous demagogues. To me it means being equiped to appreciate the achievements and the failures of human endeavour and through that to better understand the Universe and whatever is our place in it.
    Idiots like Wilkinson do not help but she is just a product of the flawed system. Both the Education Secretary and the Chief Inspector of Schools are sincere christians, so they will not be adding their voices to the clamour for her removal.
    But then maybe I’ve got it wrong and that greater understanding does not necessarily lead to greater happiness and that after all the government may be acting altruistically because “ignorance is bliss” may actually be the best way to cope with issues like climate change, islamofascism, Donald Trump etc. etc.



    Report abuse

  • The Controversial Poster Philoctetes
    Feb 5, 2016 at 7:49 am

    In my last 5 years or so in education I witnessed a stunning decline and a change from a sort of trudge through an optimistic fog to a complete loss of direction. Education became more obviously a competition and as a competition requires clarity to identify success and failure, simple quantitative tables replaced meaningful assessment.

    Useless politicians had an urgent need to divide and rule, in order to distract from their lack of support for education and to shift the public focus away from their budgetary cuts and mismanagement, on to the staff providing the services and on to the under-resourced children.

    Winning is the only thing was a meme borrowed from (and more suitably left) from sport, and the simplistic determination of “winner” by attained grades left an association that “Faith” schools were delivering success. And in terms of how success was defined – they were.

    . . . and like sport, a lot of them took advantage of a sloped playing field provided by politicians – with a bit of cheating thrown in for good measure!

    It was a win-win delusion! “Aren’t we superior service providers, and aren’t our political sponsors clever, showing how much better we are than the rest of the public system they have neglected, under-funded, dumped problems on, and publicly denigrated!”



    Report abuse

  • Alan – I note that further below on your link there is a quote by the current pope that ends with: “The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

    This rather implies that god created the very first form of life and then let evolution do its work! This surely conflicts with the notion that ‘god created man in his own image’. As usual, it doesn’t take much to unravel so-called religious ‘logic’!



    Report abuse

  • “Useless politicians had an urgent need to divide and rule, in order to distract from their lack of support for education and to shift the public focus away from their budgetary cuts and mismanagement, on to the staff providing the services and on to the under-resourced children.”

    And they probably felt they needed to do this because of the decline in our industrial and manufacturing base. This base did not depend on school qualifications for its employees. When it died under Thatcher, and the only alternative was the minimally expanded support industries; the over-subscription of job applications needed to be managed while responsibility could not be admitted. In typical demagogic manner, a scapegoat had to be blamed and school leavers supplied that role. Simply Politicians could now blame those kids that had formerly left school without qualifications and found jobs, for now being unable to find non-existent jobs.
    The situation in schools was (broadly) that a wide general education was provided in which the more motivated could if they chose, also obtain academic qualifications and attempt to find “rewarding careers” while the remainder could still find jobs without any stigmatisation.
    Now every student is forced to attempt to gain academic qualification and abandon a broad education to do so, in the futile expectation of getting a job and when they are unable to do so the government can say “Not our fault, their choice not to work hard.

    I wonder that the public so blithely accepts the tosh governments talk about schools. The answer to the problem of “failing” schools is to adopt the practices of “successful” schools. Eton & Harrow, etc. seem to be astonishingly successful, they get more kids into the best universities, jobs and government, so why not make all schools like them?
    Well, because what graduate of that system, when all the good jobs have been taken, will happily stack shelves?
    And where is the will to find the money to do this. The tax cuts which have duped the voters into a stupidity that really only belongs in US elections, have made sure that only the rich can afford that sort of efficient education



    Report abuse

  • Erol
    Feb 5, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Alan – I note that further below on your link there is a quote by the current pope that ends with: “The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

    That is just the usual denial of science combined with pretending science is compatible with dogma. (ie. Theistic evolution)

    This rather implies that god created the very first form of life and then let evolution do its work! This surely conflicts with the notion that ‘god created man in his own image’. As usual, it doesn’t take much to unravel so-called religious ‘logic’!

    That would leave a few billion year gaps between the big-bang, the formation of the Earth, and abiogenesis, implying persistent fiddling with nature. – Even before we look at Catholic “miracles”, fake holy relics, anti-science pronouncements, absence of any credible explanations of mechanisms in their claims, and exorcisms!!!

    As usual, it doesn’t take much to unravel so-called religious ‘logic’!

    Under my earlier Wiki link from the self proclaimed “infallible” Pius IX, there is his pronouncement of “Theistic trooooo Reason” (circular and not to be confused with logic).



    Report abuse

  • It is almost impossible to believe that a Headteacher in the UK has a level of knowledge so low – not only in science but also in language. You can read in any small dictionary, Theory: popularly, a mere conjecture, or guess. In science, a well- substantiated explanation of some aspect of the the natural world.
    Besides, due to the DNA you can verify the percentage of compatibility between different species.
    I think this person counterfeited her Degree of Education to get a job.
    I’d have expected this in a rural school in the American Mid-West, but not in Britain.
    Education is really getting out of control.



    Report abuse

  • Odalrich
    Feb 5, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I think this person counterfeited her Degree of Education to get a job.

    It could be a degree in theology, art, or music, with an additional diploma in education, for all we know!
    The latest “brilliant idea” from Cameron’s muppets, is “free-schools” which can employ unqualified staff as teachers if they wish!!

    I’d have expected this in a rural school in the American Mid-West, but not in Britain.

    It’s a Church of England faith-school where religious thinking and belief are a priorities!
    These sorts of schools usually have priests/vicars, on, or chairing, governing bodies and appointment panels!



    Report abuse

  • Odalrich

    Theory: popularly, a mere conjecture, or guess. In science, a well-
    substantiated explanation of some aspect of the the natural world.

    But in all fairness science itself is not always that “scientifically specific”. Take “String Theory”, mathematically elegant, possibly correct, but untestable, un-falsifiable and not therefore a “substantiated explanation of the natural world”.
    Even the “Big Bang Theory” is accepted to be conjectural with quantum theory (tick that one) and relativity (and that) in conflict.
    It is time; as Richard suggested, to come up with a new term for “Theory’s” that are “Facts”. I think he favoured “Theorem” (or was it “Theorum”)



    Report abuse

  • 14
    Pinball1970 says:

    It is time; as Richard suggested, to come up with a new term for “Theory’s” that are “Facts”. I think he favoured “Theorem” (or was it “Theorum”)

    No, why they should redefine firmly established scientific terms so the scientifically illiterate can get to grips with it?
    The parents of children this teacher should be writing to the board of governors and mp asking why their taxes (and mine) are paying her wages.



    Report abuse

  • Theorum still sounds too much like a theory to me. How about calling it the ‘Science of Evolution’ or the ‘Science of Gravity’. Drop the theory word altogether when it is effectively proven. It does seem sad to redefine firmly established terms for the scientifically illiterate, but most people will never differentiate between the use of theory and scientific theory. Most people are not scientists. However, science is relevant to everybody so it makes little sense to use words that have double meanings, particularly when those meanings are in such conflict with each other. How else can you stop people from misleading children into believing that a scientific theory is pretty much just an idea and to continue believing that into adulthood despite an apparently good education?



    Report abuse

  • No matter how many times I hear it. It still makes me smile and realise people’s ignorance.
    The old “It’s only a theory” argument.
    Perhaps if it was introduced in schools as “biological evolution” or just “evolution” rather than “The theory of…..” we wouldn’t have this equivocation problem. That theories in science are higher than “laws” since they explain laws, and “facts are just points of data.



    Report abuse

  • jtveg Feb 8, 2016 at 3:22 pm
    No matter how many times I hear it. It still makes me smile and realise people’s ignorance.

    Hi jtveg

    A small correction; this isn’t ignorance, which implies lack of knowledge or information. This is a wilful distortion of reality because of a supernatural belief.

    To be honest I’m surprised more Christians don’t reject evolution. If one accepts the bible as the unchanging word of God then Genesis lays out pretty clearly how we came to be here. What has in fact happened is that the majority of Christians, when faced with such overwhelming evidence from so many different branches of science, have decided to weasel their way around Genesis, (and many other books of the Bible) and claim that “it’s only an allegory” or other such nonsense.

    I’m in two minds whether non-believers should call them out on this – in the hope that some might finally come to grips with the unsustainable logic – or whether to just leave them be. After all they are mostly harmless as the late Douglas Adams might say. Not so harmless are the fanatics from all religions who take the written word of God so seriously that they would die (or worse kill) for it.



    Report abuse

  • herbys68
    Feb 8, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    If according to the theory of evolution we supposedly evolved from monkeys,

    Actually we evolved from the common ancestor we share with monkeys, and more recently from the common ancestor we share with apes!

    how are people like this woman still around?

    I think theistic pseudo-education is the most probable explanation for this ignorance of science AND history!

    Frequently they have also been taught fallacious pseudo-reasoning in order to square the triangular circles of doctrines and mythology!



    Report abuse

  • I see Cameron’s Tory-Twits are looking for a new cosmetic gimmick, so they can pretend that “budget cuts raise educational standards”!

    Having had votes of no confidence in Gove from all the main teachers’ professional bodies, a current war with the doctors of the NHS, and a dispute with the legal professionals at the bar, they must desperate to find someone who is sufficiently remote from the UK systems to be unaware of the professional views and evaluations of the dictatorial, anti-democratic, ideological, deregulating, buffoonery, they call policies!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35572271

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is understood to be looking to the US for the next head of England’s schools inspectorate Ofsted.

    It is thought several Americans are to be approached about replacing Sir Michael Wilshaw, who will stand down as chief inspector in December.

    The Sunday Times says a figure working in the publicly funded US Charter schools system could be appointed.

    The schools have been credited with boosting attainment in deprived areas.

    They have been expanding across the US in recent years, with supporters seeing them as a way of re-energising standards in state education.

    Charter schools, like free schools and academies in England, are independent of local authority control.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.