Lord Harries of Pentregarth debates involving the Department for Education during the 2017-2019 Parliament

Schools: Climate Change Strike

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Wednesday 13th February 2019

(5 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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I understand the noble Baroness’s passion for the subject. We are all concerned about the climate. As I mentioned in an earlier answer, we are ahead of the world in many of the things that we are doing on climate change. Indeed, the Guardian reports that last year the UK was the only country in the EU to reduce its electricity consumption, whereas all the other countries increased it. We are doing an enormous amount. If these children stayed in class, they could learn about some of the things that we are doing. We have science and geography curriculums, and we have citizenship education. Those are all opportunities to learn about these important matters.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that citizenship education in this country is unfortunately in a very parlous state at the moment? In many schools, it is simply not being done; in others, it is being done very badly. I will follow up on the question from the noble Baroness, Lady Lister. Without supporting strike action, perhaps we could encourage the headmasters of the schools where children go on strike to engage more fully in citizenship education, so that their pupils will know how to make a difference.

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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To give the noble and right reverend Lord some reassurance, I say that we have recently issued new guidance for Ofsted inspections and all these points are being moved up the profile for children. Today’s first Question—it showed the House working at its best, with cross-party debate—was about the use of plastic, which is something children can be much more active in. How many young people do noble Lords see on the Tube drinking bottles of water which are then thrown away? Young people can actively participate in that, much more than on long-term climate change, which we are already dealing with.