A nationwide school strike over climate change has been ‘applauded’ by the head teachers’ union, leaving many furious.
The mass walkout called UK Youth Strike 4 Climate currently has students in 38 cities and towns across the country planning to join them on Friday’s protest.
It is expected thousands of pupils from places including Cardiff, Brighton, Exeter and Glasgow will down their books for three hours, reports the Sunday Express.
The UK Youth Strike 4 Climate event was organised on social media and encourages all pupils whether at school, college, or university to join in on the three hour walk out Friday February 15
This isn’t the first time that young people have coordinated action against climate change and the UK strikes have taken inspiration from a 16-year-old Swedish activist.
The National Association of Head Teachers, which is chaired by Andy Mellor, has welcomed the day and ‘applauded’ students for being prepared to take action.
A spokesman 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.’
However some have been quick to critisise the protest calling it ‘ridiculous’ and ‘just truanting’.
Toby Young, former director of the New Schools Network, said: ‘Calling this a strike is ridiculous. What are they going to do? Down pencils? This is just truanting.’
Currently there are 38 locations across the UK planning to hold strikes on Friday February 15
Thousands of students are expected to walk out of school in at least 32 places across the UK in a strike over climate change
Former primary school teacher and Tory MP William Wragg said: ‘I would not encourage a walk out, it’s far more fruitful to learn about climate change in school.’
While education campaigner Margaret Morissey OBE said she was pleased to see children taking action but that ‘we need to get out of the culture that … you go on strike if you don’t get your own way.’
The Department for Education told the Express that pupils could only take term time leave in exceptional circumstances and if their head teacher had authorised it.
Writing on their Facebook page, the UK Youth Strike 4 Climate group explained the reasons behind their action, saying: ‘The World’s Youth are waking up.
‘Millions of young people are realising it’s now or never and are now taking direct action on the climate crisis and ecological catastrophe.
‘Whether you are at school, college or uni, go on strike on the Friday 15th February.
Young people started protesting over climate change after being inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg last summer (pictured are students in Magdeburg, Germany)
Students join a Fridays For Future climate change protest in Munich, Germany
‘For some this falls on half term; join the protest anyway, with youth from across the world.’
Depending on which strike is being attended, pupils are told to meet at prominent locations such as outside Parliament Square in London and the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
The children’s climate change movement started last year when 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg started Fridays for Future.
She now strikes every Friday to protest the lack of effective climate legislation on a governmental level with many students across Europe following suit.
Last November 15,000 Australian pupils left their classes over concerns about the planet.
Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, pictured outside the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, sits next to a sign saying school strike for the climate
As well as Australia, there has also been strikes in Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Japan.
Jake Woodier, of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, which is helping to coordinate the strikes, said Greta’s message struck a chord with young people in the UK.
He told the Guardian images of Greta’s solo protest outside Sweden’s Parliament ‘really inspired people’ to take action themselves.
Mr Woodier added: ‘Young people see what is happening … they realise politicians are nowhere near where they need to be on this and want to do something.’