The EIS has written to all local authorities across Scotland to urge them not to punish pupils who take part in planned anti-climate change strike action.

It is anticipated that many pupils across Scotland will join people around the world in taking action to highlight the dangers of climate change.

In a letter sent to all 32 Scottish local authorities, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "Whilst the EIS is not encouraging pupils/students to participate in anti-climate change strikes, we recognise that many will do so."

"We believe that their right to do so should be respected and that participants should not be sanctioned or punished as a consequence. If we are to encourage our pupils to be confident individuals that effectively contribute to society on global themes including sustainability, we shouldn't seek to punish them when they campaign for global sustainability."

The letter also highlights that the EIS broadly supports the aims of anti-climate change campaigns whilst recognising that individual teachers, irrespective of any personal sympathies, are governed as professionals by the GTCS Code of Professionalism and Conduct and should remain impartial and objective in teaching/discussing these matters with pupils.

As employees, teachers are required to operate the local authority's absence monitoring procedures and to ensure a duty of care is exercised in relation to pupils and students in their charge. Accordingly, the EIS has advised members that they should follow their employer's advice for dealing with unauthorised absences.

Mr Flanagan also called for a common-sense approach from authorities to absences, saying, "We believe this should be founded on the basic premise that for pupils who are 16 or over, any decision to participate in the strike can be made on an independent basis and then processed in line with the Local Authority's policy.

"For those under 16, pupils should be advised that they should seek parental endorsement if they are going to be absent and that parents should inform the school."