|Rt.Hon. Michael Gove, MP, Secretary of State for Education|
'Free Schools' are schools which have been taken out of the control of elected local government. This has opened the door to 'faith groups' taking a much closer control of the syllabus than they previously could.
There have already been attempts to implement the American fundamentalist Christian neo-conservative 'Wedge Strategy', which seeks to get the Christian superstition with which the American ruling class controls the under-class, in the form of creationism and 'intelligent design', inserted into mainstream science teaching in state schools, to get at our children whilst they are still young and gullible.
It's pleasing to see that, almost certainly due to the campaigns run by various secular Humanist groups like the BHA and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, that Michael Gove has now clearly stated the Government's position on this issue and confirmed his earlier u-turn.
It will be interesting to see if this policy is maintained:
Thank you for your recent correspondence, addressed to the Secretary of State, expressing disagreement with his decision to support a number of Free School projects that you believe intend to teach creationism. I hope you will appreciate the Secretary of State for Education receives a vast amount of correspondence and is unable to reply to each one personally. It is for this reason I have been asked to reply.
No Free School is allowed to teach creationism. The Free School application guidance published by the Department now specifically says creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas cannot be taught as valid scientific theories.
Furthermore, the funding agreements for all Free Schools state that divine creation should not be taught as an 'evidence-based view or theory' (a scientific theory) in any lesson: so if a school did do this they would be putting their funding at risk. We are confident that the Free School projects you mention will follow the rules, having explored these questions robustly with them at interview.
Prior to entering into a funding agreement, the Academy Trust is required to carry out a consultation about their plans to open a Free School. Consultations can be run in a number of ways including surveys, the launch of a simple website, meetings of key individuals and open public meetings.
Academy Trusts also need to demonstrate that they have considered the views of their stakeholders. Most do this by publishing a report setting out the key findings of their consultation.
Every application approved, including those mentioned in your letter, has had to demonstrate that the new school will provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Free Schools are subject to Ofsted inspections in the same way as all other state schools, and the government has powers to intervene in a school where there is significant cause for concern.
Please be assured that the Department will be working with the projects mentioned over the coming months to ensure that the assurances they have provided us with are honoured.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at:
Public Communications Unit
Now what we need is a ban on teaching any religion or religious doctrine or dogma as factual in any UK school. If religion has any place in schools it is only as part of a humanities course like sociology, history, psychology or mythology.
Our children should not be taught falsehoods as fact just to suit someone else's political agenda.