You may have seen or heard in the news over the past year or so that three groups intending to teach creationism have gained government approval to open Free Schools, which are independent but fully funded by the state, in 2013 and 2014. These are: –
- Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland, due to open this September, which has a “Creation Policy” stating that they “affirm that to believe in God’s creation of the world is an entirely respectable position scientifically and rationally’, and say that ‘We will teach creation as a scientific theory”
- Exemplar – Newark Business Academy which due to open in September 2013. The plans have been put forward by the same people who proposed the Everyday Champions Academy which was rejected by the Government specifically because of fears it would teach creationism as science.
- Sevenoaks Christian School in Kent which is also due to open in September 2013. They have stated that they will not teach creationism in science classes but will teach it in RE instead.
If you care at all about the quality of science education in the UK you should be concerned by these proposals. Even if these schools do not teach creationism in science classes it is difficult to see how teachers who explicitly reject the theory of evolution, which is the very core of biology, and who may also reject an old age for the earth, the big bang and other established scientific principles could possibly teach science effectively or accurately.
The British Humanist Association explains the problem (their bold):
Both Exemplar and Sevenoaks intend to teach creationism, but in RE, not science lessons. Grindon Hall have as a private school taught creationism in science, but now also intend to teach creationism in RE and assemblies. It is quite common for primary schools to teach about the Christian, Jewish or Muslim creation narrative, as it is a prominent story in the Bible. But it is extremely rare for a secondary school to do likewise, and this raises concerns that these schools are intending to promote creationist views to their students as scientific theories.
The proposed schools have now been ‘pre-approved’ by the Government, who will work in support of the plans between now and when they are due to open. However, we can still stop the plans. The proposals for Exemplar and Sevenoaks will not gain final approval until next year. The proposals for Grindon Hall do not appear to yet have final approval, but if they haven’t already, they are due to any day now. This means we must urgently contact our MPs and Michael Gove to voice our opposition.
You can help stop these plans by sending an email to your MP using this form. It only takes two minutes and could help ensure that thousands of children get a decent education free from indoctrination.
I am lucky to have an MP who took my concerns seriously and wrote to the education secretary on my behalf. I received this response in the post last week:
It sounds promising but it is vitally important everyone who cares about science in the UK makes their feelings known and remains vigilant. Write to your MP Here.