13th February 2019

Dear Headteacher,

YOUTH STRIKE 4 CLIMATE and #FRIDAYSFORFUTURE

You may be aware of the forthcoming ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’, scheduled to take place across the UK on Friday, February 15th 2019. This particular event is a UK wide school strike, with actions planned in 50 + UK locations. It is a youth-led action, organised by a number of organisations including the UKSCN – the UK Student Climate Network. It is supported by the National Head Teachers Association.

#FridaysforFuture is the Twitter and wider identifier for the movement started by Greta Thunberg, now 16, who has been striking from school every Friday for many months now in protest at the Swedish government’s inadequate response to the state of the world – both the human system and the climate and environment. As the name indicates, the action is ongoing; it is quite likely that in the UK, as is now the case across the world, such actions will proliferate and grow in size.

The Green Party of England and Wales is supportive of these actions. Our Education Spokesperson, Vix Lowthion has written to local Heads in the Isle of Wight, asking them to “show compassion and consideration when authorising any pupil absences as a result of their action”.

BATH

There is a Bath ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ event this Friday, to judge by the latest information from the organisers, and a local group, Bath & NES Youth Climate Summit. For many weeks now, there has been a constant presence outside the Guildhall on the High Street, between 11:30 and 13:30 on Fridays, in support of Greta and #FridaysforFuture, and on Saturdays, at the same time; these events are attended by children, students, working people, and retirees. A motion to declare a climate emergency is to be debated by Bath and North East Somerset Council this March, following the lead of Bristol, London, and many other local authorities across the country. A petition in support of the motion can be signed by Bath residents, including children as young as 12. You may also be aware that the now worldwide Extinction Rebellion movement has come to Bath, as well as, to name just those nearby, Stroud, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Bradford-upon-Avon, Frome, Devizes, and others.

We ask you therefore to authorise pupil absences that you can see are bona fide efforts to achieve change that is urgently required. We believe such actions, and such pupils, are to be commended and understood as likely contributing significantly to what might be characterised as humanity’s attempt to save itself from itself.

We recognise that Headteachers, and teachers more generally, are under considerable pressure already. These are extraordinary circumstances, and require an extraordinary societal response. We would like to offer you our support and will help you as you require, as much as our means allow. We would be happy to provide information, at arm’s length, or by visiting to talk to yourself, teaching staff, parents, governors, and any others responsible for the welfare of our children. We will endeavour to support you in your response to these sorts of actions. We will also be contacting these groups independently along similar lines.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Oates for the Bath and North East Somerset Green Party