“Free” Schools won’t get public money to teach creationism. A rare bit of good news in UK politics, which seems determined to outdo its own Worst News record on a daily basis.
“Free” schools are a rubbish idea for so many reasons that adding creationism into the mix was almost superfluous. But, nevertheless, it was in there:
Several creationist groups have expressed an interest in opening schools in towns and cities across England, including Bedford, Barnsley, Sheffield and Nottingham. Critics say they seek to promote creationism, or the doctrine of “intelligent design”, as a scientific theory rather than as a myth or metaphor.(from the Guardian)
I’m not too sure about the wording of the exclusion, though:
Under the new agreement, funding will be withdrawn for any free school that teaches what it claims are “evidence-based views or theories” that run “contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations”.
This seems to spread the banned-ideas disturbingly wider than stopping science lessons becoming an outpost of bible study. It implies that “non-evidence-based” religious nonsense is fine – but, as “non-evidence-based” pretty well defines creationism, surely it will be allowed.
Maybe I’m being too bloody literal, assuming that words are supposed to have a meaning. Charitably, maybe it’s just that officials at the DofE aren’t allowed to release any document that doesn’t have the words “evidence-based” in it, even if they have only the vaguest idea what it means.
I’ll err on the side of optimism and assume that it won’t mean that schools can’t debate ideas that challenge “established” ideas about history and science, as, surely, that process would define a real education….