A new school that will teach that God created the world has been given approval to open in Nottinghamshire, England.
An application by the Everyday Champions Church, based in Newark, has been accepted by the British Department for Education.
The evangelical church will teach the Bible’s belief that God created the world in six days, but evolution will only be taught as a "theory."
Education Secretary Michael Gove had promised that creationism would not be taught in free schools. He is "crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact," the Department of Education confirmed.
In January, however, he said he would consider applications from creationist groups on a case-by-case basis.
Now it has emerged that a panel of civil servants interviewed Everyday Champions Church leaders last week after their initial application was approved. It is not known if they agreed to drop plans to teach creationism.
The church wants to open the new 625-pupil school in September next year and says there are currently not enough secondary places available in the area.
Pastor Gareth Morgan, the church's leader, told the Independent: “Creationism will be embodied as a belief at the Everyday Champions Academy but will not be taught in the sciences. Similarly, evolution will be taught as a theory.”
Secular groups have criticized education officials for accepting the application and were "astonished" it was even considered.
“Everyday Champions Church have been very clear that they intend to teach creationism as valid, and sideline evolution as just ‘a theory,'" Richy Thompson, of the British Humanist Association, said. “Given this, how can the Department for Education have now allowed this proposal to pass through to the interview stage?
“The creep of creationism into the English education system remains a serious concern, and the Department have a lot more work to do if they want to stop extremist groups from opening free schools.”
The church's website says the new school will be "multicultural in philosophy and will welcome children from all faiths or none."
However, it adds that the "values of the Christian faith will be the foundation of the school philosophy."
The website says, “We believe that the Bible is God's Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our every day lives.”