Since its initial release in 1970, the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum has introduced in more than 6,000 schools across 145 counties. Produced by a company based in Texas, the ACE curriculum has come under fire for its emphasis on biblical literalism, Young Earth creationism, and opposition to sexual equality. Intended as an alternative to more secular schools, students enrolled in ACE schools work towards an International Christian Certificate of Education and many homeschooling families and private schools have adopted the curriculum. In the United Kingdom, though ACE schools are technically under the supervision of the U.K.'s Office of Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted), they are not held to the same standards as public schools
A new investigation has raised fresh concerns about the use of the ACE in United Kingdom schools and what they are teaching students. As part of the investigation, Vice reporter Martin Williams phoned one Christian school and posed as the father of a son who came out as gay. The unnamed teacher to whom he spoke reportedly stated that the school arranged "deliverances" for gay students to save them from the Devil. Similar to exorcisms, deliverances are intended to "cleanse" people of evil spirits. When questioned further on the phone about how the deliverances were carried out, she replied " We have to be sensitive because obviously we wouldn't want a deliverance going on in a room and then have Ofsted walk in. That would be a bit awkward to explain."
She explained: "Sometimes we'll have spiritual retreats for youth, for teens. These will be done over a period of three days on the weekend. We do it in a hotel in Bournemouth and all these things are going on there – deliverance and all these kinds of things." The teacher also expressed doubt about whether a gay student would be accepted or not. ""I wouldn't say we wouldn't take him," she said. "But I think our pastors would like to sit down and see where you are as a family," she said. "Always, when we have a sensitive case, it's always best to take it to pastors and they would make the final decision."
Previous investigations have already raised concern about what is being taught to students at ACE schools. Textbooks being used in ACE schools have been found to contain passages teaching that homosexuality is a choice, evolution is false and abortion is murder. One textbook passage reads: "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."
Despite attempts by Vice at contacting officials at Ofsted for comments on the story, no responses have been received to date. Previous Ofsted reports on ACE schools describe the curriculum as positive for student welfare despite concerns about what is being taught to children. Opposition MPs have already gone on record as opposing the use of the ACE curriculum in publicly supported schools.