Creationist groups to open free schools

Education secretary Michael Gove has approved plans for three new schools to be run by groups with creationist views, but critics say the government’s scrutiny of free schools isn’t good enough. 

Ministers have approved free schools backed by creationists in Sunderland, Sevenoaks and Nottinghamshire, the Guardian reports.

The website of Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland states that it will present creationism as science, though principal Chris Gray says the document is obsolete:  “That document is from a time when we were not as clear as we are now about the proper distinction as to what is taught in a science lesson and what might be taught in assembly – two different spheres.” The Sevenoaks Christian school accepts that free schools cannot teach ‘creationism’ or ‘intelligent design’ in science lessons and backers of the Exemplar-Newark Business academy in Nottinghamshire say that creationism will only be taught in RE lessons.

The British Humanist Association is concerned that scrutiny of free schools is inadequate, but the DfE commented:  “It is absolutely not true that this free school will be able to teach creationism as a scientific fact. No state school is permitted to do this.”

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