Doomed Durham Free School taught Intelligent Design Creationism

From The Darlington and Stockton Times, Brainwashed: Christian school taught Intelligent Design as fact

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan controversially withdrew Government funding for the Durham Free School after a damning Ofsted report last month.

Last night the school was at the centre of another controversy – that it taught creationism as a scientifically valid subject in direct contravention of Government rules.

The Government has banned schools from teaching creationism – that the universe originated from specific acts of divine creation – as evidence-based theory.

However, a science worksheet obtained by The Northern Echo said: “Only Earth has life on it. God has designed the Solar System so that Earth can support life.”

Teaching creationism as scientific fact would place the Durham City school in breach of the law and its funding agreement.

The story turns up in the Northern Echo, too (I imagine these papers are related – it seems the story originated in the Northern Echo). Both websites have a photograph of the offending worksheet, within the slideshow of glum looking kids and protesting parents.

Nice to see the Government taking the prohibition of teaching creationism as science seriously. It is, however, something of a pity that the Conservative Party have an ideological approach to education that can allow schools to end up in the pocket of those who teach this stuff. In this case the Durham Free School claims it is something of a one-off problem, but even so it does perhaps suggest something wrong in the school’s governance.

The Durham Free School’s website is mounting something of a fightback. But I did spot this:

The School offers a high quality education in a caring, Christian environment in which each pupil is known, valued and encouraged to achieve his or her individual potential. We are committed to outstanding academic performance and to fostering a love of learning in our students.

When I see statements like that, I do wonder about the people in the catchment area who aren’t Christian (or the “wrong type” of Christian). I don’t think for a minute that the “Christian environment” doesn’t have a connection with the teaching of Intelligent Design creationism.

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