Among the three Free Schools heavily implicated in creationism that were announced recently is Grindon Hall Christian School. Over at their website (Grindon Hall Christian School – The School), we can read:
A Christian School – this means we affirm Christian truth, employ Christian teachers, hold a daily act of Christian worship and aim to have Christ at the centre of all we do. It means we pursue excellence in everything we do, from academic life to sport and extra-curricular activities. It does not mean we only admit children from Christian families: around 80% of our pupils are from non-faith or other faith backgrounds and all are welcome. And it does not mean that we adopt extremist positions which in our view can often devalue the reputation of Christian education.
So this Free School feels it appropriate to not only indoctrinate non-christian children, but discriminate against non-christian teachers. Has the school turned its back on belief in creationism and an intention to teach it? Interestingly this link leads to a Word document which outlines the School’s policy on creationism. (There doesn’t appear to be a direct link to this policy from the School’s website, so one might suspect that the link has been deleted to try and hide the document. But it was still on their server on 20th July 2012 – though maybe it will be deleted – see update at the bottom of this post). In that document the school’s former anti-science policy is laid bare:
We are therefore very happy to believe that God could have created the world in six days. But we do not feel that it is helpful to affirm it as an unarguable fact.
We do not believe that the very plain evidence supporting a lengthy process of evolution needs to be challenged by Christians.
However, we vigorously challenge the unscientific certainty often claimed by scientists surrounding the so-called “Big Bang” and origins generally.
We believe that no scientific theory provides – or ever will provide – a satisfactory explanation of origins, i.e. why the world appeared, and how nothing became something in the first place.
We will teach evolution as an established scientific principle, as far as it goes.
We will teach creation as a scientific theory and we will always affirm very clearly our position as Christians, i.e. that Christians believe that God’s creation of the world is not just a theory but a fact with eternal consequences for our planet and for every person who has ever lived on it.
We will affirm that to believe in God’s creation of the world is an entirely respectable position scientifically and rationally.
I’ve emphasised in bold some of the text which in my view correspond to the kind of rhetoric spouted by Young Earth Creationists. In my experience there is little correspondence between the strong religious belief held by creationists and honesty. I am aware that the BHA has posted an update to their blog article, in which the Grindon Hall Christian School repeat their assertion they will not teach creationism. But like the BHA, I find their assurances rather hollow, particularly in light of the classic creationist newspeak emboldened above in that document. I would be interested to know why that document, written by Rachel Nurse (who appears to be a school administrator) in 2007 still lingers on their web server.
Will Michael Gove now admit he may well have been hoodwinked by some creationists?
Updated 24/7/12: The school appears to have deleted the incriminating file from their server. Never mind, I have a copy.