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BHA: Everyday Champions Church Free School bid rejected due to creationism

Everyday Champions Church’s bid to open a Free School was rejected solely due to concerns about creationism, the group have announced. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the news, and commends the Department for Education (DfE) in seeing reason in rejecting the bid.

In February, church leader Pastor Gareth Morgan stated that ‘Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school. It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.’

The school’s bid was rejected on Monday, and the reason is now known. In having their bid rejected, the Church was told by the Department for Education that ‘The Secretary of State carefully considered your application, the views and beliefs of your organisation as set out in your application, your responses at interview and information about your organisation available in the public domain. He was unable to accept that an organisation with creationist beliefs could prevent these views being reflected in the teaching in the school and in its other activities. It is his firm view that the teaching of creationist views as a potentially valid alternative theory is not acceptable in a 21st century state funded school.’ The Church is now planning to re-apply for 2013, and is adamant that they would only teach the story of creation in RE.

Last month, the British Humanist Association joined with thirty leading scientists and science educators including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor Michael Reiss, and four national organisations to launch a new statement calling for the extension of teaching of evolution in school science and firmer statutory guidance against the promotion of creationism. The month before, the BHA launched an e-petition, ‘Teach evolution, not creationism’, where individuals can sign up to a similar statement to that of the new website. The e-petition is one of the most popular on the new Government website, having attracted over 12,000 signatures so far.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘It is great to see that the Department for Education recognises these concerns as valid. We believe more must be done to stop creationism from being taught as science in our schools, but this is a welcome first step, and we look forward to working with the Government on this issue going forward.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Andrew Copson at andrew@humanism.org.uk or on 07534 248596.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on countering creationism: http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/countering-creationism

Read the statement from scientists, the BHA, the Association for Science Education, the British Science Association, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Ekklesia at http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/

View the BHA-backed Government e-petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1617      

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