The leader of South Gloucestershire Council has written to the headteachers of all schools within the authority urging them to stay in school on Friday rather than attend the climate strike protest in Bristol.
Tens of thousands of people from the Bristol area and across the UK are expected to attend the climate strike protest, with teenage activist Greta Thunberg addressing the crowds on College Green.
Bristol24/7 relies on your support to fund our independent journalism and social impact projects. Become a member and enjoy exclusive perks from just £5 per month.
But Toby Savage, also cabinet member for climate change, and Erica Williams, cabinet member for schools, skills and employment, have written that “learning and outcomes could suffer as a result” of pupils attending the rally.
The letter says: “I am writing with regards to the youth climate demonstration planned for Friday 28 February in Bristol. As you know, this particular demonstration is likely to have an even higher profile than previous events due to the presence of climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
“South Gloucestershire Council and all our neighbouring authorities have declared climate emergencies and we are investing millions locally to address the challenges we face.
“Whilst we are fully supportive of students’ engagement with environmental and ecological issues, we urge you to remind parents of the importance of students’ full attendance at school, especially at a time of year when many are preparing for upcoming exams.
“Improving school standards and educational outcomes remains the council’s top priority and we are concerned that following the call for children to skip classes and attend the rally, learning and outcomes could suffer as a result.
“We would appreciate your support to strongly advise our children to stay in school this Friday and to do what you can, in school, to support students to find alternative ways to demonstrate their commitment to climate change action in a way which won’t disrupt their education.”
Main photo by Peter Brooks