Free School proposed by creationist Jesmond Parish Church progresses to interview

Clayton Academy, a Free School proposed by members of creationist Jesmond Parish Church, has been passed the first stage of the process and been progressed by the Department for Education (DfE) to the interview stage. The school is proposed to open in 2013, and also has close links with evangelical group, The Christian Institute. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed confusion about the bid’s progression.

The Vicar of Jesmond, the Rev David Holloway, has written a number of times over the years from a creationist viewpoint, and assistant minister Ian Garrett preached creationism as recently as 12 February. Rev Holloway is also a Trustee of the Christian Institute, which has also opposed evolution and supported creationism.

In January, the Government amended the model funding agreement for Free Schools to preclude ‘the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.’ This change came in response to the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign, coordinated by the BHA, and was made in order to prevent creationism being taught in Free Schools.

BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It is bewildering that the Department for Education has passed this bid through the first stage. It can only mean that they have not scrutinised this bid closely enough, which is concerning.

‘We hope that the bid will be rejected following on from the interview stage.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at richy@humanism.org.uk or on 0781 55 89 636.

Read the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ statement from scientists including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor Michael Reiss, the British Humanist Association, the Association for Science Education, the British Science Association, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Ekklesia at http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/

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

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

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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