Sheffield school reacts after dozen of pupils walk out to join strike against climate change

A Sheffield school has given their reaction after dozens of pupils walked out earlier today to join a strike against climate change at Sheffield Town Hall.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 15:32 pm
Updated Friday, 15th February 2019, 15:37 pm

Over 50 students from Silverdale School left their lessons earlier today to join hundreds of other young people from across Sheffield at the event which called on the government to take immediate action against climate change and protect the future of our planet.

They gathered outside the Town Hall for the strike carrying banners and wearing t-shirts adorned with slogans such as ‘one planet one chance’ and ‘our planet needs us’ alike many others across the country. 

Silverdale School, Millhouses

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News of the strike and the possibility their pupils may not attend school had left many leaders torn, finding themselves caught between their dual roles as teachers ensuring pupils stay in school and that of educators supporting youngsters’ interest in world affairs.

Sarah Sims, headteacher of Silverdale School said: “We made it clear that, whilst we were pleased that students care strongly about this important issue, we have a duty of care to ensure that our students are safe and in education.

“We support our students to campaign on issues that matter to them but encourage them not to disrupt their education, so that they have the best start in life and can then go on and make a difference to the world.”

Speaking before the event, one Silverdale pupil said she is “not usually one to break any school rules” but is “extremely passionate about our home and planet because it is clear to me and my fellow students that we are very quickly losing our chance to save the planet.” 

Her mum accepted parents have been put in a difficult position, but ultimately she supported the day of action and was “proud to see young people becoming engaged” with important world affairs. 

The strike formed part of a wider movement across the country which started in August when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament.

Her words ‘with action, comes hope’ have inspired around 70,000 schoolchildren so far, who each week hold protests in 270 towns and cities worldwide.

The protest outside Sheffield Town hall was part of a nationwide walkout and is the first coordinated strike in the UK. 

Demonstrators are calling on the government to declare a climate emergency, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and change the curriculum to make the state of the environment an educational priority.

The young people also want the voting age to be lowered to 16, so they can have a say in policy making and therefore be involved in their future.