Remember the openly creationist stance of the ECC free school hopefuls in Newark? Here is a reminder from the tes:
Pastor Gareth Morgan, the church leader and the driving force behind the free school bid, confirmed that creationism would be taught across the curriculum, should the school be given the green light.
“Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school," Pastor Morgan said. "It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory."
The church website carries a video that states: "If creation is true, there is a purpose to life. If evolution is true, there is no purpose to life." It adds that "if creation is true, then man is a fallen creature and we need a saviour. If evolution is true then man is an evolving creature and we don't need any saviour".
In comments at the TeS link, John Harris (who lectures on evolution at the church) writes:
EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION
This whole website is a waste of time. Uneducated, dogmatic, close minded, humanistic, evolutionists trying to impose their false religion on mankind! What’s worse, is that they deceitfully call it SCIENCE. It is nothing but a religious worldview that has NOTHING to offer to science or humanity other than lies. They use the principle of variation-within-a-kind ie small variations (micro-evolution) which is a fact; to promote the idea that one kind of animal can change to a completely different kind of animal (macro-evolution) which is a LIE. This has NEVER been observed, cannot be demonstrated or tested. Check out the definition of empirical science. You won’t find evolution in there!
and much more on the same lines.
A link on the ECC website, now taken down, gave the reason why their proposal, which went to the site interview stage, was rejected:
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.
In fact Mr Gove has now changed the terms and conditions for funding of free schools and has added the following clause:
The Academy Trust shall not make provision in the context of any subject for 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.
DfE further stated:
No school, free or otherwise, will ever be allowed to teach creationism instead of valid and thoroughly evidenced scientific theories.
The Education Secretary has been crystal clear that teaching creationism as scientific fact is wrong. He will not accept any academy or free school proposal which plans to teach creationism in the science curriculum.
All free school proposals are subject to due diligence checks by the new specialist unit within the Department for Education to ensure that people that are setting up the school are suitable.
Valid and thoroughly evidenced scientific theories, such as evolution, will always be the foundation of science teaching in all schools in England.
So surely ECC should just give up shouldn't they? After all they are perfectly entitled to disagree with the policy and to speak out against it but their cause is lost for the time being.
Actually no. First of all they are now in denial about what their own people said their intentions were in the first place. Secondly they are changing the name of the application. Thirdly they are now claiming they will be really, really good.
The exemplar free school application here thoughtfully explains in its FAQ that it’s really the same proposal in disguise:
What is different about your proposal this time?
We believe that the previous proposal, was fundamentally sound on academic, cultural and financial grounds, and we therefore do not see the need for any major changes to the proposal.
We also know that the only reason the proposal was unsuccessful was that the DfE felt that there was not enough evidence that our teaching would not be influenced by the theological beliefs of the sponsor organisation, Everyday Champions Church (ECC).
As a result the main changes to the proposal that we are making are:
1. ECC is no longer our sponsor organisation. This means that we can better demonstrate what was always the intention; that the Christian ethos on which we will build the school is separate and distinct from Christian theology, which is the basis for a church
The school will no longer have a designated faith status but will simply be a school that demonstrates a Christian ethos. This gives us far more flexibility with our admissions policy, without compromising the Christian values on which we will build that ethos
They are running presentations on the 14 th and 18 th of Jan. Perhaps a member or supporter can attend and provide a report for our creation-watch pages?