TEACHERS' leaders have rejected calls for the teaching of creationism to be banned in science classes.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said "legislative interference" was unnecessary because teachers were already aware of their responsibilities.

The intervention comes after the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for new government guidance.

The society believes schools should not be allowed to present the belief that the universe originates from acts of divine creation as a viable alternative to established science.

However, an EIS spokesman said the union was confident members would not promote any beliefs that would undermine current curricular guidance.

He said: "The EIS does accept the view that creationism is more suited to a discussion in a religious and moral education class than a science class, but we are not convinced about the desirability of legislative interference.

"Delivery of the curriculum is a matter for teachers in the classroom and it is essential we continue to trust the professional judgement of teachers to deliver the best for pupils without any undue external interference."

The interventionis another setback for calls for new government guidance on the issue.

Last week, Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland (SLS), which represents secondary headteachers, also criticised the SSS petition arguing schools were fully aware of the need to protect pupils from "extremist" views.

He said: "We feel there are enough checks and balances within the system to prevent extremist views being perpetrated."

However, Spencer Fildes, chairman of the SSS, said creationist organisations were already attempting "with some success" to penetrate schools.

He said: "We find ourselves in the incredible position, in 2014, of having to petition our elected leaders to address the serious issue of creeping creationism."

The SSS petition was lodged after it emerged members of a US pro-creationist religious sect had been working as classroom assistants at a primary school in East Kilbride. And a parent in Midlothian complained after a physics teacher was alleged to have told a pupil he did not accept some of the science he was expected to teach because of his Christian faith.

In England and Wales, the teaching of creationism as scientific theories is prohibited in schools.