NSS: ‘This new school would put kids at risk’
The Department for Education has confirmed that a church linked to abusive, witch-hunting Nigerian pastor David Oyedepo has applied to open a UK school this September.
A Guardian report yestersay said that the school – which would accept children from the age of four – is linked to Winners’ Chapel International, headed by the multi-millionaire pastor Oyedepo.
Campaigners have warned that the organisation links poor discipline to witchcraft and have condemned the actions of the charlatan Oyedepo, who in 2011 was captured on video slapping a young girl at one of his “deliverance” circuses in Nigeria.
In the video he accuses a teenage girl, who is on her knees in front of him, of being a witch. The girl can be heard saying she is a “witch for Jesus”, at which point Oyedepo slaps her around the face and denounces her as evil.
The website of the proposed new fee-paying independent school – The Kingdom Heritage Model School in Dartford – states that the school will be opening in September. The Winners’ Chapel would not comment further.
The website states that the school strives:
To nurture and develop self-esteem of pupils through well-rounded, creative curriculum and varied enrichment activities embedded on Christian teachings.
We approach discipline very firmly while celebrating every achievement in our students. Discipline is the security of any future prosperity. It has a positive correlation with excellent performance Prov 22:6 ‘Train up a child in the way he should go – and when he is old he will not depart from it.
To Train up a Child, incidentally, is the title of a book written by a pair of American evangelical fanatics, Michael and Debi Pearl (below) and has been linked to the death of at least two children in the US.
The National Secular Society has written a letter to the Department for Education to express concern about the proposed opening of the school, which as an independent fee-paying institution would have to be registered with the DfE to operate legally.
Stephen Evans, NSS campaigns manager, said the department had a responsibility to safeguard all children, whether in state or independent schools.
Given this Church’s record, we have considerable doubt as to their suitability to run educational establishments and call on the DfE to robustly examine their ability to do so, In twenty first century Britain ideas linking poor discipline to witchcraft – ideas which this Church and its leader espouse – pose a significant, potentially deadly, risk to children’s health and wellbeing.
The Kingdom Heritage Model School has been established by Living Faith Church Worldwide (LFCWW), also known as Winners’ Chapel International (WCI).
A statement on the David Oyedepo Ministries International website links “disobedience” with “witchcraft”, stating:
As far as God is concerned, disobedience is as terrible as witchcraft. 1 Samuel 15:23a says: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. May God not catch you as a witch. His Word also says, “Do not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18) …
In the job advert for the position of headteacher at The Kingdom Heritage Model School, responsibilities include:
Ensuring there is an atmosphere that encourages respect for authority, strong character, obedience and a Christ-like spirit and upholding high standards of discipline and ensuring that behavior management is seen as a learning opportunity.
Oyedepo founded Winners’ Chapel in 1981 after claiming to have had an 18-hour vision from God. The church has gone on to become a global network of churches with congregations in 34 countries. Oyepedo has a large personal fortune, which Forbes estimates to be worth $150m.
A spokesperson for the DfE said:
We have received an application from the Kingdom Heritage Model School in Dartford to open and we are aware that concerns have been raised. All independent schools must meet stringent standards before they are registered. These include tough rules on welfare and safeguarding.
Police intelligence and criminal record checks are also carried out on the proprietor of the school, and any links to organisations which suggest the school might not meet the standards are investigated. We are considering the case and it would be wrong to comment further.