Two more creationist free schools approved

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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:46 am

There's not much more of interest in the Everyday Exemplar articles of association. Certainly nothing about education, apart from the above platitude and a threat to send in extra governors if Ofsted gets too upset. The government can install a governor anyway, but only if it feels like it. There are, though, signs of hatred of Local Authorities and governors will be dismissed immediately if they ever become a "Local Authority Associated Person" whatever one of those is. Oh, and the three directors have guaranteed the company for all of £1 each, safely within the government's maximum requirement of £10 each!
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:44 am

cathy wrote:Is this blog anything related to nasty Nick Cowans, eg a son? A Stewart Cowan blogging on nasty humanists hurting creationists. Spot on creationist language and same name.

I've come across this loon before but he's not closely related, if at all, to Nick Cowan. Stewart Cowan is Scottish and from his accent, Nick Cowan is not (although I believe Cowan is a Scottish surname). Stweart Cowan is what Americans call a wingnut, complete with a believe in conspiracy theories, notably the Bilderberg Group controlling everything. It's no different from anti-semitic Jewish conspiracy theories of the 1930s. The loons never learn.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:08 pm

cathy wrote:Is this blog anything related to nasty Nick Cowans, eg a son? A Stewart Cowan blogging on nasty humanists hurting creationists. Spot on creationist language and same name.

http://www.realstreet.co.uk/

Education "reform" is a side show based on yesterday's thinking and issues.

Gove has said he is not averse in principle to free schools making a profit. How do you make a profit in state education exactly? Privatisation by the back door, education based on who can pay just to back up the greedy bankers! :evil: :evil:

The ultimate nightmare a world will be run by bankers and creationist loons. :cry:



No idea who Cowan is but he sounds very right-wing.

"The Theory of Evolution is a 19th Century assumption based on an 18th Century unscientific philosophy called Uniformitarianism." UTTER DRIVEL.

"Unfortunately for Darwin, the fossil record still hasn’t yielded what he would have expected and never will." A tightly-closed mind - the ideal prequisite for a dogged YEC.

See also: http://www.politics.co.uk/reference/real-street
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:56 pm

a_haworthroberts wrote:No idea who Cowan is but he sounds very right-wing.



And an utter saloon bar bore. An expert on everything.
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Grindon Hall - plot thickens

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:44 pm

Headteacher blasts claims his city school teaches creationism
Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.


Published on Tuesday 24 July 2012 11:40

THE headteacher of a Wearside Christian school has rubbished claims that it teaches creationism.

Chris Gray, principal of Grindon Hall Christian School, slammed a report that claimed the Pennywell school was run by a group with creationist views.

The report, which appeared in a national newspaper, also claimed there was a document on the school’s website stating they taught creationism as a scientific theory.

However, Mr Gray said the document was removed years ago and was originally written to distance the school from those views.
(my emphasis) Curious, the document was there a couple of days ago, now its gone. Evidently evidence of their confusing billions with thousands of year - except in reverse: a short time becomes a long time, it would seem. (I was originally wondering whether there was another, worse, document that should be dug for but the explanation is simpler than that - he's clueless about what's going on. Allegedly.
http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/all-news/headteacher-blasts-claims-his-city-school-teaches-creationism-1-4767968
Edit: correction description of time dilation/contraction
PS: I have a copy downloaded on 19th July 2012 directly from their web site.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby cathy » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:48 pm

Is it a positive sign that he is so adamant that they don't teach it? After all Sheffield never backed down in their rhetoric and Exemplar haven't been that explicit either? Creationists are liars but they're rarely able to lie about their addiction to creationism. He didn't use any of the usual creationist doublespeak.

It is entirely possible for private christian schools not to teach creationism as state schools don't - state RC schools don't bother nor do state CofE apart from St Peters in Exeter, but private schools are more of a mystery. And this one does look like a real school and not a CST dump.

And I'd really love to know how DfE are making sure it won't be taught. He was very firm in that statement.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby cathy » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:10 pm

I've had a very quick look at the Sevenoaks website as well.
www.sevenoakschristianschool.org.uk
Under their FAQs they have
Q. Will you teach ‘creationism’?

Christians believe that God made the world and loves what he has made. In RE we plan to teach about this and our responsibility as stewards of this precious earth. We will not teach ‘creationism’ or ‘intelligent design’ as an alternative to the theory of evolution; indeed Free Schools are prohibited by law from teaching this.

Which looks sort of ok? However the bid is backed by 25 local churches some of which look normal CofE, some more dubious. And on its links page it links to CofE but also to Jubilee centre and evangelical alliance take on teaching and this essay
http://campaigndirector.moodia.com/Clie ... cation.pdf
Which I haven't ploughed throug yet, but alarmingly in the first paragraph came across the old there is no neutral way of teaching nonsense that Arthur Jones and sobbing Syl push and clearly folk are stupid enough to buy. So will plough thru that.

Ah and didn't need to plough thru it very far till we got to Dawkins and Francis Collins and there different takes on things tho both doing the same science which is ok till I hit this paragraph
But what is being said here? The argument seems to
be that science lessons are purely about passing on
the facts of science and inducting students into
scientific method. That means that the debate
between Collins and Dawkins about meaning and
significance is being treated as of no consequence
for science teachers. And yet Dawkins and Collins as
professional scientists are committed enough to
that debate to give it considerable time and energy.
They know it matters. Why should not science
lessons contribute to the wider educational task of
helping pupils develop their understanding of meaning and significance in life? Why
should such debates be confined (or perhaps relegated) to Religious Education (RE)
lessons and assemblies?

Interestingly, discussions about the nature of RE in schools throw significant light on this
question.7 Good RE teachers don’t just teach the facts about religion, but put great
emphasis on helping students to make their own judgments about the meaning and
significance of religious belief. This is the learning from dimension of the subject. That’s why
it is called religious education and not just religion. Why then is the curriculum subject
science not called science education? Maybe a change of name is needed because the
value of teaching science in schools should lie not just in learning scientific information,
but in developing the ability to make judgments about the meaning and significance of
science. In other words, science in schools should be contributing to pupils’ development
as persons and not just to their knowledge of science. The debate between Dawkins and
Collins is too important to be ignored by science teachers. This report argues that learning
to make judgments about the meaning and significance of what we learn is, actually, what
education is all about. This is expressed evocatively in the following letter from a ho
I

Tho this is just a link from the school website I'm not so sure I'm happy with that. Science is for science, not for discussing atheism or belief. They are both beyond its remit and nobody would be very happy if a teacher was using science to push atheism.

Anyway it is a very long document, but tho it isn't an overtly creationist one and tho it isn't anything to do with the CST loons, it has the distinctly alarming no neutral veiw of education that they push.

So not sure what to make of this bid? Does anyone know anything about the people involved?
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby cathy » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:33 pm

Additioanally interesting stuff gained from their website is that it looks like an area that has a shortage of places, people are having to travel. It is also looks to be an area that is still seriously into selective grammar schools which look to be expanding into a couple of satellite grammar schools. Meaning it will be a school that will get pupils, there is a need for non selective school places. Whether that will be parental choice or not.

The other thing I gleaned, but could be wrong, is it could be playing on a good reputation of a nearby state faith school that parents may have tried to get into to. But that needs someone more qualified than I am at reading between the lines to check out.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby dannyno » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:39 pm

Grindon Hall.

The current headteacher, Christopher Gray, is the son of the founder and first headteacher of the school, Elizabeth Gray. It started out as Fulwell Grange Christian School before moving to Grindon Hall.

It was Elizabeth Gray who only abandoned corporal punishment when it was finally made illegal in private schools in 1999. She told the Newcastle Journal on Jan 13 2000 that corporal punishment was "Biblical".

I haven't seen anyone else notice that one of the directors of Grindon Hall is John Burn, of the Christian Institute and close to the Vardys (he was headteacher at Emmanuel College, Gateshead). He's been involved in Grindon Hall/Fulwell Grange for many years- I found interviews with him and Elizabeth Gray dating back to 2000 where he was saying he'd been a supporter for "many years".
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby a_haworthroberts » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:57 pm

cathy wrote:I've had a very quick look at the Sevenoaks website as well.
http://www.sevenoakschristianschool.org.uk
Under their FAQs they have
Q. Will you teach ‘creationism’?

Christians believe that God made the world and loves what he has made. In RE we plan to teach about this and our responsibility as stewards of this precious earth. We will not teach ‘creationism’ or ‘intelligent design’ as an alternative to the theory of evolution; indeed Free Schools are prohibited by law from teaching this.

Which looks sort of ok? However the bid is backed by 25 local churches some of which look normal CofE, some more dubious. And on its links page it links to CofE but also to Jubilee centre and evangelical alliance take on teaching and this essay
http://campaigndirector.moodia.com/Clie ... cation.pdf
Which I haven't ploughed throug yet, but alarmingly in the first paragraph came across the old there is no neutral way of teaching nonsense that Arthur Jones and sobbing Syl push and clearly folk are stupid enough to buy. So will plough thru that.

Ah and didn't need to plough thru it very far till we got to Dawkins and Francis Collins and there different takes on things tho both doing the same science which is ok till I hit this paragraph
But what is being said here? The argument seems to
be that science lessons are purely about passing on
the facts of science and inducting students into
scientific method. That means that the debate
between Collins and Dawkins about meaning and
significance is being treated as of no consequence
for science teachers. And yet Dawkins and Collins as
professional scientists are committed enough to
that debate to give it considerable time and energy.
They know it matters. Why should not science
lessons contribute to the wider educational task of
helping pupils develop their understanding of meaning and significance in life? Why
should such debates be confined (or perhaps relegated) to Religious Education (RE)
lessons and assemblies?

Interestingly, discussions about the nature of RE in schools throw significant light on this
question.7 Good RE teachers don’t just teach the facts about religion, but put great
emphasis on helping students to make their own judgments about the meaning and
significance of religious belief. This is the learning from dimension of the subject. That’s why
it is called religious education and not just religion. Why then is the curriculum subject
science not called science education? Maybe a change of name is needed because the
value of teaching science in schools should lie not just in learning scientific information,
but in developing the ability to make judgments about the meaning and significance of
science. In other words, science in schools should be contributing to pupils’ development
as persons and not just to their knowledge of science. The debate between Dawkins and
Collins is too important to be ignored by science teachers. This report argues that learning
to make judgments about the meaning and significance of what we learn is, actually, what
education is all about. This is expressed evocatively in the following letter from a ho
I

Tho this is just a link from the school website I'm not so sure I'm happy with that. Science is for science, not for discussing atheism or belief. They are both beyond its remit and nobody would be very happy if a teacher was using science to push atheism.

Anyway it is a very long document, but tho it isn't an overtly creationist one and tho it isn't anything to do with the CST loons, it has the distinctly alarming no neutral veiw of education that they push.

So not sure what to make of this bid? Does anyone know anything about the people involved?



"Christians believe that God made the world and loves what he has made..."
Christians seem to say different - often Bible-based - things according to context. The YEC mob stress that God, after Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit (scrumped as Michael would say), CURSED his creation - causing it to 'groan'. Or particular PARTS of it at least:
"So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labour you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you. ”
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return".
Genesis 3 14-19 (NIV)
Last edited by a_haworthroberts on Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby a_haworthroberts » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:09 pm

"Why should such debates be confined (or perhaps relegated) to Religious Education (RE) lessons and assemblies?" (as quoted by Cathy above)

Because they aren't scientific questions but religious or philosophical ones.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby a_haworthroberts » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:21 pm

I've only skimmed this, which Cathy linked to - 'Doing God in Education' http://campaigndirector.moodia.com/Clie ... cation.pdf.
It's not produced by Bible fundamentalists or science-rejecting young Earth creationists.

Hope this doesn't steel Cathy's thunder, but see the section on pages 48-50. I reproduce it below:

"We have already seen how Michael Reiss, an eminent science educator, was shipwrecked
on the reef of creationism. This issue seems to have become one of the litmus tests in
the debates about the place of religious faith in education which followed the revelation
that both the Principal and the Head of Science at Emmanuel School, Gateshead were
purportedly creationists. The school was one of the first of New Labour’s new state
schools to have a Christian sponsor in the form of Sir Peter Vardy and the press had a field
day in suggesting, probably unfairly, that he had purchased the privilege of indoctrinating
students into this view of origins through sponsoring the school. In response to the
controversy, the Labour Government at the time published guidelines on how
creationism was to be handled in schools. Even Michael Gove, now Secretary of State for
Education and keen to attract Christian groups to support the new “independent” schools
championed by his party, made sure that he distanced himself from any suggestion that
creationism would be taught in science lessons in these new schools. To allow oneself
to be accused of being a creationist is educational suicide.
The Government’s guidance is that creationism should not be taught in science lessons since
it is not a scientific theory. If pupils ask questions, teachers are advised to explain why
creationism is not considered to be a scientific theory. That some religious believers are
creationists can, however, be taught in religious education. This approach looks pretty
reasonable given that virtually all scientists accept evolution as the best scientific explanation
for the diversity of the natural world. It also seems fair in that it allows the minority voice of
creationists, with their strong religious disposition, to have their views represented.
The danger, however, is that this advice strengthens the widely-held perception that
science teaching is a neutral, rational activity where mention of religion would be
irrelevant “clutter”. The guidance does not intend to reinforce the idea that science and
religion conflict, since the point is clearly made that many scientists believe in creation by
God even though they don’t believe in creationism. However, the probability is that in
treating creationism in this way the idea that any type of God-talk is inappropriate in the
science classroom is reinforced. We saw earlier how the fact that Michael Reiss was a
clergyman was perceived by some very eminent scientists to be reason enough to
remove him from his post as Education Officer at the Royal Society. The problem is that
the Government guidance does not require science teachers to ensure that their pupils
understand that every scientist practices his or her science within the context of a
worldview, be that religious or not. Pupils are not generally sensitized to the importance
of worldview through current approaches to science education. This is the reason why, in
response to the publication of the government guidance, Justin Thacker, a qualified
paediatric doctor with a PhD in theology writing on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance,
decided to call himself a creationist when he is emphatically not a creationist.
The clue to the problem lies in the Dawkins/Collins debate examined in the Introduction
to this essay. The message of the guidance appears to be that science teaching is no more
than transmission of the corroborated knowledge and skills of science and that any Godtalk
is therefore illegitimate. In this situation, discussion of the meaning and purpose of
science has therefore to be set within a framework where the absence of God is taken for
granted. In other words Dawkins’ position becomes normative in the science classroom
and Collins’ position silenced, although it can be studied in RE lessons. Thacker, although
welcoming the guidance, sums up the potential problem:
The wider danger, here, is that science becomes cut off from other disciplines that
are relevant. Science can only be properly understood or applied when it is put in
its social, historical, philosophical, ethical and religious context. The history of
science has shown that there are serious dangers in isolating science from these
other subjects, and we hope that this latest guidance will not increase the
likelihood of this.
There are several unfortunate, but likely, consequences of this approach. Firstly, the
current influence of scientism (the widespread idea that a religious view of the world is,
at best, a tolerated private deviation and, at worst, an intellectual nonsense) will be
reinforced. Putting it provocatively, science lessons might be seen as the place where you
learn credible, established knowledge and RE the place where you study the myriad of
“bonkers beliefs” to be found in the world. Secondly, the fact that there are many scientists
who are committed Christians like Francis Collins is usually ignored. Thirdly, faith schools
are prevented from setting their science teaching within the context of a distinctive
worldview on the grounds that the atheistic worldview offers the only rational
understanding of the relationship between science and belief. To return to an early
theme, this is unfair discrimination against religious worldviews and amounts to
indoctrination into humanism.
It is for this reason that Thacker called himself a creationist. Not in the sense that he is a
biblical literalist but on the grounds that he wanted a Christian worldview to be taken
seriously in education and recognized as a legitimate framework from within which to
understand the meaning and purpose of science.
This can be done by following the lead of Smith and Carvill in MFL and asking the
question, “what difference does it make to the way we teach if we, as Christians, think of
our students as primarily spiritual beings and if we see science teaching as contributing
to their spiritual development?”
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:29 pm

Well spotted, Dannyno. The worms in that can are starting to wiggle! There's a lot about Burn on our Wiki, including a link (which is incorrect) to proposals for a Christian Institute curriculum by Burn & McQuoid which contains
There are those who argue that Science and Christianity can be harmoniously reconciled and that no significant tension remains. We cannot subscribe to this view. It seems to us that attempts to reconcile evolutionary theory with the Biblical account of creation strain and distort scripture and that they introduce a symbolic reading of Genesis which cannot logically deny the symbolic reading of the Virgin Birth, physical Resurrection of Christ or the Second Coming.

Clearly schools are required to teach evolutionary theory. We agree that they should teach evolution as a theory and faith position. Again it is important to distinguish between evolutionary theory and the faith position of evolutionism. Clearly also schools should teach the creation theory as literally depicted in Genesis. This too is a faith position of which young people should be aware.
http://www.christian.org.uk/html-publications/schoolcu.htm
Interestingly, Burn was only appointed director in June last year, so they can't claim that his ideas were expunged from the school years ago. Three other directors were appointed at the same time - maybe when they were setting themselves up for applying for free school status. Nutty ideas apart, Burn's connections could make him quite a catch.
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby marcsurtees » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:43 pm

a_haworthroberts wrote:"Why should such debates be confined (or perhaps relegated) to Religious Education (RE) lessons and assemblies?" (as quoted by Cathy above)

Because they aren't scientific questions but religious or philosophical ones.

So would I be right to assume that philosophy of science is part of the curriculum?
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Re: Two more creationist free schools approved

Postby cathy » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:54 pm

Hope this doesn't steel Cathy's thunder, but see the section on pages

No thunder stolen. Though I'm not happy with that piece at all. Reiss was not got rid of because he was a clergyman but because he was soft on creationism and science does not involve the existence or otherwise of a God as that is beyond its remit. And going down that road leads to dodgy ground.

So would I be right to assume that philosophy of science is part of the curriculum?


No you'd be wrong! Scientific method is part of the curriculum, fair tests, hypothesis testing and the like but not the whole philosophical bag of beans as you understand it with worldview nonsense and the like. Plus a bit of the history where relevant, like the early pre Mendeleev versions of the periodic table or the fact Wegener?Darwin/Big Bang weren't intially accepted till more evidence was available.

And even if it were part of the curriculum the question of God still lies within the remit of religion and religious philosophy NOT the remit of philosophy of science per se. That remains a matter of personal belief that does not alter the scientific facts being taught at all. Sodium reacts as it does for the same reasons whether you believe or not, we evolved whether you believe or not and so on. So is still not relevant to science lessons. There is a lot of real science to learn without muddying the water with creationist philosophical waffllings.

And don't forget very few science teachers are creationists and quite a few are atheists. If we were to bring our personal opinions into work you wouldn't necessarily like it very much. You should be thankful we don't all abuse our positions in the way creationists do!
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