While the Trojan Horse investigation into an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools in Birmingham, England, has recently hit the headlines, less attention has been given to around fifty schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that follow a strict "fundamentalist" Christian curriculum.
Those schools are currently listed as using a curriculum provided by U.S.-based Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) which teaches that homosexuality is a choice, that AIDS can be avoided through religion, that evolution is a lie, and that abortion is wrong.
The majority of institutions using the ACE curriculum are private Christian schools. Students at these schools do not study for British state exams and instead prepare for an International Christian Certificate of Education.
One ACE textbook states that:
“Some people mistakenly believe that an individual is born a homosexual and his attraction to those of the same sex is normal. Because extensive tests have shown that there is no biological difference between homosexuals and others, these tests seem to prove that homosexuality is a learned behaviour. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin. In Old Testament times, God commanded that homosexuals be put to death. Since God never commanded death for normal or acceptable actions, it is as unreasonable to say that homosexuality is normal as it is to say that murder or stealing is normal.”
According to ACE King of Kings School Headteacher Brenda Lewis, the textbooks are "a starting point not a finishing point. As Christians we believe the Bible and we believe what the Bible says, and it does say a number of those things, but we are not single-issue people and we teach our students to think for themselves and realise there are a vast number of issues.”
Speaking to the BBC, Ben Medlock, a co-founder of the SwiftKey smartphone keyboard app, who attended Victory Christian School in Bath said his experience had been "broadly positive".
"While my own faith has evolved significantly from the conservatism of my childhood, I do feel that the values of the school provided students with a positive – though inevitably flawed – framework in which to view the world and interact with those around them."
However, according to Jonny Scaramanga, a former student of the same school who campaigns against the ACE curriculum and writes the blog Leaving Fundamentalism, the school adopted a "fundamentalist attitude" to religion. Scaramanga added:
"If you believed what they believed, you were Christian. If you believed anything else, you were not Christian."