Thursday, 15 March 2012

Creationist Free School in Sheffield - update

We told you about this before.

Their application has now gone off to the DfE.

Let's look at the current evidence that should rule out their application.  Just for fun why not restrict ourselves to evidence that is proudly displayed on their own website.


Firstly some typically creationist weasel words:
SCFS says…
The Secretary of State for Education says teaching creationism as scientific fact, is “wrong”. (SCFS- we don’t teach creationism as scientific fact but we do offer to our pupils the wide range of assumptions, data, interpretations and theories made by the scientific community.)
What does this even mean??

So a kind of denial that is followed up by a frank admission:
The government has amended its funding agreement to prevent creationist groups from opening free schools. (SCFS- Why? What is there to fear from people who believe in the traditional Christian origins account? We are ordinary Christian parents and teachers who are at the heart of the education system, in every school, at every level, doing every job. Tell us …is their a problem with our work or our beliefs?)
Which had previously been stated more plainly too:
In March the Department of Education said Mr Gove was “crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact”. (SCFS- we do not teach about creation as scientific fact. It is our faith position. We, like everyone else, have the problem of reconciling our belief with the assumptions, data, interpretations and theories of science. Who has advised Mr Gove on this? Has he talked to real scientists who do believe in the Christian creation account?)
Naomi Philips from the British Humanist Association tells Premiers teaching creationism can confuse children and hinder them in later life. (SCFS- What is the evidence for this? Our pupils tell us they are extremely well prepared to cope with further and higher education …and later life.)
A previous application from some other creationists was refused by Mr Gove with this comment:
Michael Gove 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."  Furthermore "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."
So can SCFS reassure him that this won't happen?

No.

In fact they state that this is exactly what will happen in the school right there in plain view on their web site:

6. Will the SCFS curriculum include creationism? Yes. Christianity has a clear and distinctive creation story which is relevant to all areas of the curriculum. We know that ‘some people think differently‘ so we will be sure to give full weight to other views of the origins and purposes of life.  Our science curriculum will be broad and well-balanced, looking at the assumptions, evidence and interpretations behind scientific theories. Michael Gove’s view that ‘teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact’ will be taken into account. (Note: 80% of our pupils achieve GCSE grades A*-C in Science courses)

This makes Mr Gove's decision making very easy in this case.

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