Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the Education Secretary’s response to pupils striking for climate change.
Climate Change School Strikes
Today, Friday 15 February, the action group Youth Strike 4 Climate will be leading protests on the issue of climate change. It has been reported that pupils from schools around the country will be striking from school to attend these protests. This has been covered by the Independent, the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Mirror, the Sun, the Mail, and the Times, as well as on broadcast by BBC Breakfast and the Today Programme.
This is a matter for individual schools, however we are clear that pupils can only take term-time leave in exceptional circumstances, and where this leave has been authorised by the headteacher.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
I want young people to be engaged in key issues affecting them and involving themselves in causes they care about. But let me be clear – missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers.
This is ultimately a matter for head teachers to consider, but I’ve repeatedly said I don’t want teachers being burdened with extra and unnecessary workload, and that’s exactly what these strikes would lead to.
As a government, we’re taking lots of action to combat climate change – £2.5 billion is being invested through the Industrial Strategy to support low carbon innovation in the UK, and just last month the government announced its ambition for the first ‘net-zero carbon’ industrial cluster by 2040. We do recognise that more needs to be done by all sections of society, which is why we have asked the Committee on Climate Change for advice on a net zero emissions target.
Please find our guidance on the parental responsibility regarding attendance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parental-responsibility-measures-for-behaviour-and-attendance