The British Humanist Association has a useful overview of recent bids for faith-based Free Schools (Creationist Free School bids rejected before interview as other ‘faith’ schools advance to interviews). The article seems fairly upbeat about the failure of several bids from groups clearly planning to teach creationism as an alternative to scientific reality.
Bids to set up creationist Free Schools have been rejected by the Department for Education (DfE). In particular, the DfE have turned down a high-profile bid from Sheffield Christian Free School, which would have been affiliated to the Christian Schools’ Trust (CST) network of largely creationist private schools. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the news; however, at least 15 other proposals to open ‘faith’ schools in 2013 have advanced to the interview stage.
The fate of several specific bids for creationist Free Schools is summarised in the article:
- Creationist Everyday Champions Church’s bid to establish Exemplar Academy appears to have been withdrawn, with the website having vanished prior to the application deadline.
- The fate of other proposals from CST schools such as Destiny Christian School in Bedford and Barnsley Christian School is unknown, but it is unlikely that they were successful.
- Similarly, it is unknown whether CofE school Clayton Academy, proposed by creationist Jesmond Parish Church – who have strong links to the Christian Institute – has progressed.
- Interestingly, creationism is not given as a cause for Sheffield Christian Free School’s rejection, in contrast to when Everyday Champions Academy’s bid was rejected last year.
I share the BHA’s concern about the general tendency for diverse and factional religiously motivated Free School proposals to be made. I also have a worry about school bids with a focus on barmpottery (as David Colquhoun puts it) suchas the three Steiner schools which have progressed in the application process.