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No control

DURHAM DIOCESE'S director of education, Canon David Whittington, this week joined in the dispute over the teaching of creationism alongside evolution theory at Emmanuel City Technology College, Gateshead.

The college is in the diocese, though it is not a Church of England school. He criticised the lack of control over the school, which is supported by conservative Evangelical groups in the area, and was partially financed by Reg Vardy, a millionaire car dealer who holds a literalist view of the Bible.

"Neither the diocese nor the local education authority has any influence on them at all," said Canon Whittington. "I am concerned that the head of science at Emmanuel inaccurately presents creationism and evolution as competing theories. If this was Church of England school, I would be demanding an explanation from the headteacher, and, if it was a community school, the LEA would be asking questions."

The school's presentation of the book of Genesis also raised questions about the social, moral and cultural curriculum, he said. "What, for example, are they teaching about the role of women?"

Church Times, 22/3/02