School strike over climate

I have great admiration for those young people walking out of school today to protest about inaction on climate change. I wish I could go back to school to walk out with them!

The hashtags #climatestrike #YouthForClimate #FridaysForFuture and #schoolstrike4climate will get you to posts about it on social media.

Our schools must, these days, promote British values through enabling students to:

  • develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely

There’s an argument to be made that any school that isn’t missing a few (or a lot of) pupils today isn’t really doing its job!

Contrasting views;

… from the Association of Head Teachers who said:

When you get older pupils making an informed decision, that kind of thing needs to be applauded.

“Society makes leaps forward when people are prepared to take action. Schools encourage students to develop a wider understanding of the world around them. A day of activity like this could be an important and valuable life experience.

as reported

… and Toby Young, journalist and former director of the New Schools Network who 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.

as reported

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13 Replies to “School strike over climate”

  1. In this country strikes by school students are extremely rare and I would take the view that any student taking the day out of school to support this demonstration should be commended for their civic engagement. One day out of school is hardly going to make the difference between examination success or failure.
    Having said that I would not encourage student organisers to develop a habit of taking time out from school for demonstrations. There are many issues that young people might be expected to have strong views on including (without seeking to suggest which way they should lean!) Brexit, university tuition fees, public spending, NHS, sexual politics, etc. etc. and downing pens to join protests about every issue that stirs their passion could lead to serious interference in their studies. There is no reason in principle why demonstrating and campaigning cannot be done at the weekend or in school holidays. It is worth remembering that strikes by students differ from strikes by employees in that it is only the students themselves that suffer any loss through their refusal to work.

    1. Your last sentence, Jonathan - I'm sure the students realise this so it is the more laudable that they take this action.

  2. This is just a single day. It's out of the classroom, engaging with scientific information, political discourse, community involvement and citizenship, and a critical appraisal of the mass media. And that's to say nothing of the urgency and improtance of the actual issue itself. As an educational experience it could hardly be bettered.

    Unless you think - like the government - that yet another day in the classroom being bored to death over how to answer an exam question so as to maximise your multiple choice mark in the AQA syllabus Paper 3 is a more productive way of spending your youth...

  3. It is my understanding that pupils are mainly taking one hour off school, not 1 day.
    I don't know if my grandchildren have done so, but if any of them have I applaud their initiative and maturity.

  4. How dare Ms May criticise the students she should be ashamed of herself (and a great many othe things too). It is great to see the youth of this country taking climate change so seriously and trying to do something about it. What a rotten Government it is that does not respond psitively to this young generation on this so vitally important a subject.

  5. I commend them, they feel they have no future, or a future that is depleted. If course a few will use it as an excuse to bunk off but it does not matter because they will have heard the truth from the kids who did it for the cause. And if they do it every Friday like Greta then I still commend them. This is a serious problem climate change and ecosystem degradation, they feel that they need to be heard and they feel this is the only way. As many have done before them.

  6. They have my support. I'd join them if there was a strike in my small town, and I've been a teacher (still am....once a teacher, always a teacher). The issues they are now highlighting are too important to be ignored and it's refreshing and exciting that action from our future generation is happening.

  7. (just lost my 'like' function again) so just to say I concur with comments above - especially yours, Clare and Joyce.
    Not much point in turning up at schools every day if they are under water.

    As a generation we - and especially the politicians - have let them down terribly.

    The utter complacency of so many of our legislators - even now, with all the evidence piling up - should be a matter of shame to them.

  8. I support what the children have done and the general media coverage has helped to raise awareness of climate breakdown issues. Hopefully, as part of their awareness, our young people will realise that first world lifestyles are a strong contributing factor to global warming and that this will encourage them to make sacrifices at a personal level. Adults could lead by example but few do.

  9. Those attending from Uppingham Community College will I am told, be getting a detention for "defiance". Cannot help observing that the Principal of the school drives a big Jaguar. All political parties should be taking note of this activity, their respective parties may cease to exist in a few years if they do not.


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