Rt Hon Estelle Morris, MP,
Secretary of State for Education and Skills,
Great Smith Street,
London. SW1P 3BT
10th March, 2002
Dear Ms Morris,
Emmanuel College, Gateshead
I wish to express my great concern over reports in yesterday's Guardian newspaper that the above state-funded beacon school is employing Christian fundamentalist teachers, who are undermining the scientific teaching of biology in favour of persuading pupils of the literal truth of the Bible.
The Guardian piece refers to a lecture given by the school's Head of Science, Steven Layfield, a full transcript of which is available on the Christian Institute website at www.christian.org.uk/html-publications/education3.htm In this lecture, Mr Layfield blatantly argues for the systematic subversion of scientific teaching and the promotion of fundamentalist religious dogma. The following quote is typical (although I urge you to read the full article, remembering as you read it that this man is Head of Science at Emmanuel College):
We urgently need thinking Christians who understand Scientism's subtle message and mistakes to speak out with clarity, conviction and courage against it. The same classroom practitioners must, in its place, be prepared to express without compromise the integrity and infallibility of the Biblical historical narrative however loud and disagreeable the objection. Such ambassadors must strive to be 'as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves' (Matt 10:16).
Quite rightly, we wouldn't allow a paedophile to teach in a play school, or a holocaust-denier to teach 20th Century history, so what on earth are we doing letting a religious fundamentalist try to pervert science teaching in this way?
None of the usual ministerial platitudes, please: can I have your assurance that this matter will be looked into as a matter of urgency?
References: Links to all the articles mentioned in this letter can be found at:
See also: The Department for Education & Skills reply