The Durham Free School in the UK is an independent state-funded school (kind of like U.S. charter schools) even though it’s founded on “Christian values.” Earlier this year, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan ordered the school to be shut down after it was discovered that school officials cared *way* more about Christianity than the education it offered:
[The report] added that the school’s governors “place too much emphasis on religious credentials when they are recruiting key staff and not enough on candidates with excellent leadership and teaching skills.”
“Leaders are failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain,” it added. “Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs than themselves.
“The behaviour of some students leads to unsafe situations, particularly on school buses. Students call each other unpleasant names and there are many instances of bullying.”
But before the school shuts down later this month, there’s been another interesting report about it by the newspaper Schools Week: One science teacher, David Hagon, was found to be preaching Creationism in the classroom, as you can see in this excerpt from a worksheet given to students:
“Only the Earth has life on it. God has designed the Solar System so that Earth can support life. For example, Earth is the right ________ from the Sun, so that we are neither too hot nor too cold. Our moon is big, which stops us from wobbling. Comets and asteroids which could destroy Earth are mopped up by the planet ______ because they get to us.”
Unless the homework assignment was “Circle all the mistakes you can find in that paragraph,” it’s just unbelievable how much bullshit is contained in a single passage.
We don’t know if Earth is the only planet with life on it because we don’t know what exists in the rest of the universe. It’s unscientific to say definitively that we’re unique in that respect.
There’s no evidence that God designed the universe. More importantly: that’s clearly a religious idea, not a scientific one.
After you get past the fine-tuning argument in the next sentence, there’s still the idea that the moon stops us from wobbling (it doesn’t; our planet still wobbles) and that comets and asteroids are mopped up by another planet (Jupiter, I presume, though it doesn’t catch everything).
It’s just a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding all around. The material is better suited for the Creation Museum than a basic science class. It’s so bad that even the administrators tried to brush it off:
A spokesperson for Durham Free School said: “It was an isolated incident, which the former headteacher dealt with very promptly, firmly and appropriately.”
I suppose it’s moot now that the school is closing, but you have to feel bad for these students who were short-changed a real science education because they had to put up with junk like this.