A freedom of information (FOI) request by the National Secular Society (NSS) has revealed that the OCR examination board is willing to permit the redaction of evolution questions on its exams by religious schools, as long as the redaction is carried out following consultation between the board and the schools concerned.

Last October the NSS revealed that teachers at Yesodey Hatorah Jewish Voluntary Aided girls' secondary school in north London had blacked out parts of an OCR GCSE science paper, believed to be questions relating to the theory of evolution.

Now, a subsequent FOI request by the NSS has revealed that OCR is willing to work with schools on redacting papers. In communication with the exam regulator Ofqual, OCR stated:

In our deliberations we have reached the conclusion the most proportionate and reasonable approach would be to come to an agreement with the centres concerned which will protect the future integrity of our examinations – by stipulating how, when and where the redactions take place – but at the same time respect their need to do this in view of their religious beliefs. We believe we need to be mindful of the fact that if we do not come to an agreement with the centres we could be seen as creating a barrier to accessing the examinations for the candidates.

Following the results of its FOI request, the NSS has said it is concerned that the new science curriculum, due to be introduced in September this year, will not be taught in full in some religious schools. Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the NSS, said:

The pressure from schools for redaction demonstrates that religious precepts are strongly influencing science classes in some minority faith schools.

The censoring of key scientific concepts from science lessons and exams by religious organisations pursuing their own religious agenda compromises children's education. It also reveals a lack of concern from the Government over minority faith schools not preparing pupils for life in wide British society.