‘Scripture slots’ have been found during Llanidloes High School assemblies as the headteacher denies wrongdoing.

Two weeks ago news broke that the school was allegedly teaching creationism with wall-sized posters and Christian tutor group and assembly sessions.

During their 2020 pandemic weekly assemblies online, children read bible verses including one on exorcism and guest speakers including a GP gave faith-based advice on health, stating ‘Jesus has authority over illness itself’.

Meanwhile, parents state the posters are still up and fear the issue is being “swept under the carpet”.

The advice page allegedly placed at the back of student planners at the school
The advice page allegedly at the back of student planners at the school, with scriptures instructing people to ‘flee from sexual immorality’ and ‘the evil desires of youth’. (NSS)

One parent said: “People see the word ‘Christian’ and think it’s fine, they don't understand the type of Christian [the headteacher] is.

“I have lost all trust in him. We trusted our kids to him.”

The headteacher suspected behind the evangelist teachings, Daniel Owen, wrote a letter to parents after Powys County Council and Welsh Government began an investigation.

Owen is named an ‘elder’ in an evangelist church, which preaches homophobic and sexist teachings in its sermons.

In the school bulletin, Owen states creationism is taught in Religious Studies alongside evolution and the Big Bang theory, and that creationist posters stating that God made ‘all nations’ and ‘creatures’ are accompanied by posters quoting Stephen Hawkins, Richard Dawkins and Malala Yousafzai.

Owen adds The Lighthouse Christian lunchtime group is accompanied by other extracurriculars including sports, dance groups and Duke of Edinburgh training.

He states the student planners which feature a page listing Bible verses under issues including sex, abuse, addiction, relationships and suicide, also give guidance on safety online, revision and healthy lifestyles, encouraging students to speak to parents, friends, a teacher or GP.

A wall-sized creationist poster allegedly up on a wall in Llanidloes High School
A wall-sized creationist poster allegedly up on a wall in Llanidloes High School (National Secular Society)

He adds that the extracurricular, religious and ethics teachings, pastoral support and visual displays are complimented in recent inspection reports.

Mr Owen said the school ‘is careful to comply’ with the Education Reform Act 1988 and Department for Education Circular 1/94: “The school will continue to adhere to the law regarding collective worship, support children from faith communities, delivering our vision for the new Curriculum of Wales including cross-cutting themes such as religion, values and ethics, and providing outstanding pastoral care for all pupils.”

The law states that ‘all maintained schools must provide religious education and daily collective worship for all registered pupils’ and ‘must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’.

Headteacher Daniel Owen

The National Secular Society calls for these laws to be abolished.

Head of campaigns Megan Manson said: “The alarming assembly videos reveal the scale of the evangelism that's been happening at this school, often engaging external speakers with a proselytising agenda.

“The disturbing views promoted by the headteacher’s church make the issue even more concerning.

“The assemblies also demonstrate that the law requiring Welsh schools to hold daily acts of collective worship is easily used to turn school assemblies into mission fields.

"The government must now look to remove the archaic collective worship law.

“The majority of people in Wales are not religious: imposing worship on children in such an irreligious and diverse society is illiberal and increasingly unjustifiable."