Religion

U.K. School Closes Due To Creationism Teachings

| by Kendal Mitchell
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A United Kingdom school will close after Easter because a teacher told students, "God has designed the solar system."

Regional schools commissioner Janet Renou sent a letter on Feb. 25 to the Durham Fee School, a state-funded secondary school that opened in September 2013, stating that the school had lost its funding.

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U.K. educational law states that a publically-funded school that teaches creationism as scientific fact is no longer receive money from the government.

Last September, David Hagon, a teacher at the school, told 11- to 13-year-old students to complete a worksheet for a science class that said that God was responsible for creating the solar system.

The worksheet stated, "Only the Earth has life on it. God has designed the solar system so that the Earth can support life."

School officials said the worksheet was an isolated experience and did not represent how most teachers conducted their lessons.

“It was an isolated incident, which the former headteacher dealt with promptly, firmly and appropriately; the worksheet is not used by the school,” said a Durham Free School spokesperson.

Renou said she thinks the school’s administration did not properly address issues surrounding the school’s social environment.

“(Administrators did not help fix or) address a culture of intolerance of people who have different faiths, values or beliefs,” Renou said.

The school’s governors released a statement confirming the school will close and its plans to help students relocate to other institutions.

“Our immediate priority however will be working with all of our current families to help them find the very best solution for their children now that their chosen provision has been removed,” a statement released by the school’s governors read.

Despite the controversy surrounding the school, the governor’s statement said they think the school served a vital purpose to the community.

“The short time many have spent at The Durham Free School has already had an extremely positive, and in many cases, a truly transformational impact on their lives," the statement added.

The school is set to close on March 27.

Sources: Schools Week, The Durham Free School / Photo Credit: MAPAC