março 30, 2011 § Deixe um comentário

GUARDIAN, 21-03-2011


Free schools will not teach creationism, says Department for Education

Government spokesman says the education secretary is ‘crystal clear’ that
teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact

Education reforms An anti-creationist group has written to education secretary
Michael Gove expressing concern about applications from Christian groups to run
free schools. Photograph: PA

The Department for Education has said Michael Gove is “crystal clear that
teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact” after a warning that the
government’s new free schools could be exploited by fundamentalist churches
looking to promote a literal interpretation of the Bible.

The remarks follow a letter to the education secretary from the British Centre
for Science Education (BCSE) suggesting that creationists planned to use
government legislation on free schools to mount a “concerted attack” on science

Free schools can be set up by charities, universities, businesses, educational
groups, teachers and groups of parents. They will have more freedom over the
contents of their curriculum, leading to fears that science teaching in the
schools may not be as rigorous. Teachers working at free schools will also not
need to have formal teaching qualifications.

The BCSE, which describes itself as the leading anti-creationist organisation in
Europe, wrote to Gove to express its “extreme concern” at applications from
groups such as the Everyday Champions Church and the Christian Schools Trust to
run free schools.

The Everyday Champions Church, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, submitted its
proposal for a 652-place school in January, shortly before the DfE held its
first free school conference where Gove said he would consider applications from
creationist groups on a case-by-case basis.

On its website the church says it has “660 children ‘definitely’ signed up to
the school and 185 considering”. It spent January and February carrying out
public presentations and found parental response “overwhelmingly positive”.

“Creationism will be embodied as a belief at Everyday Champions Academy, but
will not be taught in the sciences,” said its leader Gareth Morgan. “Similarly,
evolution will be taught as a theory. We believe children should have a broad
knowledge of all theories in order that they can make informed choice.”

The DfE spokesman said groups setting up new free schools in the UK will be
vetted to ensure that they have “strong education aims” and “high curriculum
standards”. He said: “The education secretary is crystal clear that teaching
creationism is at odds with scientific fact. Ministers have said they will not
accept any proposal where there are concerns about the people behind the

In the letter from the BCSE, Professor Paul Braterman wrote that the embodiment
of creationism “as a belief” could only mean that science was “subordinate to
religious considerations, and that the central concepts of the natural sciences,
as developed over the past 350 years, must be rejected as doctrinally unsound.”

In an accompanying report, the BCSE recommended the DfE “carefully vet” free
school applications and “be very wary” of approving applications from
creationist groups.

Last July, Gove acknowledged there were concerns about “inappropriate faith
groups using this legislation to push their own agenda.” The education
secretary, who was addressing MPs on the cross-party Commons education
committee, said his department was working on the regulations to ensure there
were no “extremist groups taking over schools”.

Braterman claimed that teaching in schools run by such groups in Sweden forced a
revision of the original “friskolor” legislation there, making free schools
subject to the same regulations that ensure teaching is objective as traditional

• This article was amended on 23 March 2011 to remove a reference to a primary
school in Hampstead that has asked us to make clear they have no connection with
the Christian Schools Trust.



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