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Pupils in Edinburgh given one day off a year to protest climate change | UK News

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School pupils in Edinburgh have been given one day off a year to protest about climate change without being punished for missing lessons.

Edinburgh City Council announced the move following a series of ad hoc demonstrations at the Scottish Parliament in the city since councillors first gave students permission to join a global climate crisis protest in March.

Pupils will not, however, be allowed to take any other unsanctioned days.

Any such absences to protest will be recorded as unauthorised, with “parental consent” required.

Councillors on the local authority’s education committee voted on Friday by eight to two to become the first local authority in Scotland to introduce a school climate protest day off.

Two Green Party councillors opposed it.

Some campaigners are demanding more, however, and have said they will “keep challenging” the limitation plan.

Two further demonstrations are planned next month by the Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS) group.

Sandy Boyd, of SYCS, said: “It’s a little disappointing, but they have given us permission for one strike a year.

“We will keep striking no matter what and we will keep challenging the council on this.”

Inspired by the global movement begun by teenage climate crisis campaigner Greta Thunberg, thousands of schoolchildren massed at Holyrood on separate days in March and May.

School at a protest outside the Scottish Parliament in March
Image:
Pupils at a protest outside the Scottish Parliament in March

Pupils joined similar demonstrations in more than 100 towns and cities across the UK, while smaller groups have been gathering at Holyrood every Friday since January.

Edinburgh City Council education convener Ian Perry said: “We support the young people making their voices heard regarding climate change as it is one of the most important issues that’s facing the world.

“However, there needs to be a balance struck and if we allow pupils more than one absence the issue is that they could be regularly missing school which affects their education.”

The move, which was proposed by the Scottish Nationalist Party and Labour, was welcomed by council conservatives.

But Green councillor Steve Burgess told the BBC: “To place an arbitrary limit on it at this stage does not appear to be responding appropriately to young people.”

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