Evangelical school to get state funds

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The Independent Online
A school run by the evangelical Seventh Day Adventist Church is set to receive state funding for the first time from September.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, has told the John Loughborough School in Haringey, north London, that he "is minded" to approve its application to become grant maintained.

British Humanists said they were horrified that public money was being used to support a body which denied that evolution existed and which would increase religious divisions between children.

Two months ago state funding was granted for the first two Muslim schools in Britain.

Parents pay fees of pounds 715 a term at the 150-pupil John Loughborough School, one of two secondary and eight primary schools run by the church.

Government sources said ministers were minded to fund the school because it had local support and high standards.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church, which has many members in the Afro- Caribbean community, broke away from the Baptist church in America in the last century.

Keith Davidson, the church's education director, said: "We are absolutely delighted. For three and a half years we have been trying to get state funding just like the Roman Catholics, the Church of England, the Methodists and the Jews." He said his church was Creationist - it believes that everything that exists had its origin in acts of creation by God.

He said:"We would not accept the Darwinian theory of Creation but that is also true of some other Christian churches."

Robert Ashby, director of the British Humanist Association, said: "We are totally against sectarian education which impedes the development of a more integrated and tolerant society. They are out on a limb compared with most other Christians. Even the Pope has accepted evolution.

"Why should children have their parents' views as the governing factor in their education? It is very sad."