RE conference bid sparks Darwin row
ISLES of Scilly councillor Gordon Bilsborough didn't much take to the notion of two local school teachers, at a cost of £1,832, attending a religious education conference on "awareness, mystery and value".
He wanted emphasis being placed on evolutionist Charles Darwin, although he conceded: "I am not against religion being taught in school."
Quoting OFSTED's words that religious education "fosters civilised debate and reasoned argument" Mr Bilsborough said that was only true if the work of Charles Darwin, his book The Origin Of The Species, and the ideas of other recognised researchers into evolution and the origin of the universe were included.
He sought "an assurance" that Darwin was being "taught in parallel with religious education" at the islands' school.
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"Religion should be education not indoctrination," he added.
Local SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) chairman Christine Savill, while not in a position to give that assurance, said the current curriculum "is shared with three other authorities and has been through our own local committee and the agreed syllabus conference".
Mollie Peacock made the point that no one in the chamber ever said anything about other teachers going away for training. She felt that the conference would be "of great advantage".
Attendance was agreed, with Mr Bilsborough's opposition being recorded.