Thursday, November 25, 2004

There is a good article in Prospect Magazine this month about the Vardy academies. For readers who don't follow UK education policy, Peter Vardy is an evangelical business man who puts millions of pounds into schools in deprived areas. The schools are run on a Christian ethos and have become outstandingly successful with huge waiting lists. Dawkins and his anti-religious zealots have been campaigning against these schools on the false grounds they teach creationism as science. In fact, they don't. No creationism is taught in science lessons and this would not be allowed under the national curriculum anyway. The Bishop of Oxford, always looking for a chance to bash evangelicals, joined forces with Dawkins and is now looking rather foolish.

Recently a very deprived area near Doncaster was further deprived of a good school by campaigners against Vardy. They told a lot of lies and scared people into rejecting the school. Vardy could have forced the issue but pulled out. The main players were agents of the National Union of Teachers, for whom 'success' and 'discipline' are dirty words. Their objections were entirely political as they represent the hard left who oppose all efforts to improve schools. The anti-Christian line was simply a scare campaign.

This sorry episode shows that anti-Christians can do a lot of damage when their propaganda is not challenged. It is also a damning indictment of people who will deny poor children a good education for political or anti-religious reasons. Dawkins and the Bishop of Oxford should hang their heads in shame.

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