One of the schools, Grindon Hall Christian in Sunderland, confusingly promotes itself as teaching “creation as scientific theory”.

Grindon Hall’s policy reads as such: “We will affirm the fact that “God created the world and everything in it”.  We will affirm that he did so “ex nihilo” – out of nothing.

“We believe that God, as sovereign Lord of the universe, is capable of creating the world in a few 24-hour days, or over a period of millions of years. “

Education secretary Michael Grove also approved a school in Sevenoaks, Kent, that plans to teach that “God made the world”, while a third, in Nottinghamshire, was initially turned down due its stance on creationism.

However, a DfE spokeswoman said schools would not be allowed to teach creationism as fact.

“The point is they are not allowed to teach creationism as just one theory,” she told respected news website Huffington Post.

“We just do not approve free schools that teach it is as fact. The school will only teach it as part of the curriculum.”
British Humanist Association (BHA) chief executive Andrew Copson said: “Michael Gove said that he was ‘crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact’.

“So it is startling to see two Free Schools that intend to teach creationism in RE and one that intends to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory.

“Either the scrutiny to which bids are being subjected is inadequate, or the government’s policy statements are untrue.”

BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson said: “‘Today the Government have given approval for a creationist group led school simply, it seems, because they have promised not to teach creationism. I am shocked that this is deemed a risk worth taking.”

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