Support striking pupils?

Schoolchildren will walk out of lessons over climate change

Download Perspecs

Support school pupils striking over climate change?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Children around the country are set to down their pens on a national strike over climate change.

School pupils have received the support of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

However, not everyone is convinced that the children should be missing their lessons over the issue, Perspecs News reports.

The Claim

The Sunday Express reports on the "outrage" of head teachers supporting the pupil strike over climate change. The day of action has been branded "misguided" from critics.

One of those critics is Toby Young, former director of the New Schools Network, a free schools charity, who likens the strike to "truanting". He said: "Calling this a strike is ridiculous. What are they going to do? Down pencils? This is just truanting. For the NAHT to condone it is a shocking dereliction of duty."

The Express also spoke to Tory MP William Wragg, a former primary school teacher, who said: "I would not encourage a walk out, it's far more fruitful to learn about climate change in school. The idea of a day of protest, I don't see what learning will come out of it."

Chris McGovern, chairman of The Campaign for Real Education, argues that it is "misguided and slightly delusional". The former head teacher said: "Schools need to be places where there is no strikes. If head teachers are not in charge then the children will be. When children take to the streets or go on strike it is a recipe for disorder."

The Counterclaim

The Guardian's Srećko Horvat, however, argues that the pupils should not be criticised over the strike. It is the so-called adults after all that are "leading us into a catastrophe" with climate change.

The protests are "bringing back is a sort of universalism", as well as a "much-needed debate about the very notion of a common future". He also believes that adults should join the protests, along with the children.

Horvat argues: "The first war against our youngest citizens is the destruction of the planet, which is the theft of their future; the second war is the overreaction to the current children’s protest.

"It reflects our western cultural tendency to simultaneously treat children like pets – sentimentalising and infantilising them while at the same time dismissing their concerns."

Perhaps the children are the true grownups, and the adults are "the spoiled and dangerous children", he ponders.

The Facts

Thousands of school pupils across the country are set to down their pens for three hours in a mass action called UK Youth Strike 4 Climate.

Between 11am and 2pm on Friday (February 15), they will leave classrooms to demand action on climate change from the government. The day of action has been planned in more than 30 towns and cities in the UK.

The campaign is inspired by 16-year-old protester Greta Thunberg, who held a lone protest outside the Swedish parliament in the run-up to their elections last August.

Since then, up to 70,000 children in 270 towns and cities worldwide have urged their governments to address concerns about climate change.

According to the i, the UK movement is demanding that the government declares a climate emergency, reforms the national curriculum, and takes steps to communicate the severity of the crisis.

Download Perspecs
Download Perspecs