The team behind last year’s ‘Everyday Champions Academy’ Free School bid, which was rejected by the government due to concerns about the teaching of creationism, have now proposed ‘Exemplar Academy’, a new Free School specialising in business which would de-emphasise the group’s creationist links.
Everyday Champions Academy was proposed and sponsored by Everyday Champions Church, a creationist church based in Newark. Following having their bid rejected, the team met with the Department for Education in an attempt to get the decision overturned, and their local MP, Patrick Mercer, met with Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to attempt the same thing.
The new Exemplar Academy is proposed by the same group of individuals from Everyday Champions Church as proposed the previous Free School, however the Church is no longer sponsoring the school, and the school will no longer be formally designated with a religious character. Instead, it will have a Christian ‘faith ethos’. The new proposal will apparently be ‘building on all that the Department for Education liked about the 2011 Everyday Champions proposal.’
BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘Even if the proposal is removing all formal links with the Church, it is still far from clear why Michael Gove should agree to open a school run by people with such extreme religious views, when there are so many other groups he can choose to support.
‘Instead, this school represents another example of the growing instance of schools that have a ‘faith ethos’ but are not legally designated as being religious schools. Such schools are intended to be more palatable to the wider public, but still allow the religious organisation to control the governing body, put its slant on some aspects of the curriculum – such as science and Sex and Relationships Education, and perhaps also put a religious requirement on some teaching positions. We hope Michael Gove will oppose these latest plans.’
For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7462 4993.
Read the statement from scientists including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor Michael Reiss, the British Humanist Association, the Association for Science Education, the British Science Association, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Ekklesia at http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/
View the BHA-backed Government e-petition on the same subject at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1617
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.