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April 26, 2006

When will they learn?

PZ Myers thinks we may be making a little progress in the creation wars. England’s education watchdog, however, seems to be in full retreat:

A college that is sponsored by a fundamentalist Christian foundation has been rated as an outstanding school by Ofsted [England’s Office for Standards in Education]—for the third time in a row.
Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, is backed by Christian philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy, and attracts controversy by teaching pupils about Creationism.
The city technology college was called “remarkable” in the latest report.
It is now one of only 12 secondary schools in the country to have received three consecutive top ratings.

Emmanuel College has a strong Christian ethos but has attracted controversy by teaching Biblical creationism as well as evolutionary theory.

In the latest Ofsted report, inspector Andrew Bennett praised teaching at the school, which has 1,231 pupils.
… “Excellent behaviour and very high levels of attendance emphasise their desire to make the most of what the college offers them.”
“Students feel safe and secure and, while expected to conform to the college’s rules and expectations, are encouraged to express freely their own views and articulate personal feelings.”

Unless, of course, those views and feelings are at odds with those of Emmanuel’s car-dealing fundamentalist founder.

The Emmanuel foundation says its schools teach the theory of evolution, as required by the national curriculum for science.

Creation is taught in religious education. But the two concepts “touch” at points, it says.
This approach has the approval of the Department for Education and Skills and Ofsted, it says, so parents can be assured the issue is not presented as “certain more sensationalist commentators” suggest.

It’s hard to see how the reality of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation could be sensationalized. Nigel McQuoid, who chairs Emmanuel’s governing body, has been crystal clear about its values:

To teach children that they are developed mutations who evolved from something akin to a monkey as a result of a cataclysmic chemical accident and that death is the end of everything is hardly going to engender within them a sense of purpose, self-worth and respect. To present, however, the Truth that they were made by a loving and just God who sees every one of them as being of equal and real value and capable of achieving their best, and to speak of the life beyond death, creates an altogether more positive sense of responsibility, accountability and direction.

A really sound basis for education, then.

Posted by Stephen at 12:50 PM in Education | Evolution | Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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