Emmanuel Schools are the British version of our very own Christian Colleges.  A little about the founder Sir Peter Vardy:

“I don’t know what a creationist is. I am not a scientist. I am a car salesman,” he said. “My opinion is God created man in his own image and I believe that God created the Earth, but I am not teaching that at the school — that is my particular faith.”

He acknowledged he did not believe in evolution, adding: “I don’t believe my ancestors were monkeys. Where do monkeys come from? If we come from monkeys — where did they start?” Vardy, who expanded his father’s car business into marques such as Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce, as well as selling Fords, Vauxhalls, Nissans and Rovers, said there were no strings attached to the tranches of £2m he is ready to put into state schools. “It comes down to my Christian faith. God has blessed me with a very full cup. There is a responsibility to use that wealth and money wisely.”

He said his Vardy Foundation charity has been talking to local authorities in the northeast about setting up city academies. The building of the school in Middlesbrough is due to start in May and will amalgamate two existing schools.

Vardy was 669th in The Sunday Times Rich List 2001. His forthcoming entry will put him higher up the list with a personal fortune of £75m. He took over running the Reg Vardy company when his father died in 1976.

He said then: “I got one O-level at school, and there are times when you scratch your head and wonder how this has happened.”

His company has doubled in size every three to four years, now turning over more than £1.3 billion with £30m profits.

His use of English and the depth of his knowledge put him in good company.  A Theologian founding a religious school is at least excusable, but a car salesman?  A bit about the schools:

Under the influence of Vardy both schools have introduced creationism in biology lessons. The import of creationism is one of the main purposes of the schools and foundation. In 2005 Vardy claimed that the schools do not teach creationism [4] (http://www.steinsky.me.uk/blog/146), and implied that they never had, though in an interview in 2003 he made it clear that the schools do teach creationism.

In 2002, when the news that Emmanuel College was teaching creationism was revealed, Tony Blair and Estelle Morris (the then education secretary) decided to overlook the teaching practices of the school because the school achieved good exam results. In the UK schools must teach a national curriculum which prepares students for the national examinations. However, unless strictly forbidden, local education authorities (who run state schools) or independent school governers may choose to teach additional material. Few topics are forbidden by law, and creationism is not one of these, nor does it fall into a banned category, as in the US where separation of church and state forbids public schools teaching organised religion.

Further, it has emerged that King’s College have banned Harry Potter from the school library over fears of “satanic undertones”

And a bit from today’s Independent, which had me looking up this guy in the first place:

A hung parliament is the most desirable result I can realistically imagine. The Lib Dems would hold the balance of power, probably in some kind of Blair-free coalition of the centre-left. With luck, they would put a stop to Blair’s love affair with faith schools. He even supports the infamous Peter Vardy, whose heavily subsidised academies teach children in the North East that the entire universe began after the dawn of agriculture. Blair’s defence, in response to a question from a rightly outraged Liberal Democrat MP, was to praise “diversity”. Diversity!

Is that intellectual diversity – Tony?

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