PARENTS risk £60 fines if they allow their kids to miss school to take part in what could be the largest worldwide climate protest in history.
Children are expected to leave lessons this morning in action, with hundreds of thousands of workers expected to join them in a global day of action.
The protests are part of a snowballing movement sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg who walked out of school each Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament.
However parents could face £60 fines if they child skips school to attend the protests, which doubles if the payment isn’t made within 21 days.
And teachers have been warned they should not let children walk out of class.
They have been told encouraging pupils to attend could put them at risk of legal or disciplinary action.
The Teachers’ Union said there was “a duty of care to pupils”, adding: “Teachers cannot condone and encourage such behaviour and may be held responsible should they allow children and young people to do so.”
Business, energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he could not endorse children leaving school to take part.
He said he supports the “energy and creativity” of students, but said time spent in school is “incredibly important”.
More than 200 events are taking place across the UK, with the main event at Millbank, in Westminster.
As if to underline the urgency of the issue, the temperature is set to reach 26C in parts of Britain this weekend – 8C above the average for the time of year.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will today tell climate strikers they are an “inspiration”.
He praised children going on strike saying they were “leading the way”.
He will use the occasion to attack Prime Minister Boris Johnson and blast US President Donald Trump “a full-blown climate-denier”.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “It is unbelievable that we should need global strike action for the future of our planet to be taken seriously.
“The stark reality is that our climate is changing rapidly and we are running out of time to address it.
“I hope governments around the world who are failing to take action hear the voices of millions of people, young and old, unified in their call for action to save our planet. Our future depends on it.”
Across the globe more than 3,400 events are planned across 120 countries, making it the largest action yet.
Some of Friday’s first protests were held in Australia, where an estimated 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 rallies.
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The strikes mark the start of a weekend of action.
Tomorrow Extinction Rebellion plans to blockade the Port of Dover for four hours.
On Sunday Mr Khan will shut more than 12 miles of roads in London along with a further 340 streets, which will be turned into “play areas”.
However the move was criticised as being a “PR stunt” that will cost £1million – money that could have been invested in “proper measures to improve air quality”.
Keith Prince, a Conservative transport spokesman and London Assembly member, said: “Once again the Mayor has demonstrated that he is more interested in indulging in shameless virtue signalling instead of properly getting to grips with the big issues facing London.”