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Education member defends climate change teaching

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A DEPUTY’S comments about schools teaching about climate change has gained little support.

Deputy Peter Roffey is a member of the Education, Sport & Culture committee and was a party in drawing up the answers to Deputy Barry Paint's questions about climate change being taught in schools. (26082031)

Barry Paint posed written questions to Education, Sport & Culture after receiving complaints from grandparents, parents, carers and some children regarding the teaching.

ESC member Peter Roffey was party to drawing up the reply to the questions.

While the official responses to Deputy Paint’s questions more or less encapsulated his thoughts on the matter, he did make some additional comments.

‘I think if you are going to explain to pupils the scientific consensus on any matter, the small minority of parents or carers who disagree may well object, but that is no reason for not explaining that “this is what most scientists believe is happening”,’ he said.

Drawing up a parallel with evolution, he said: ‘A small number of creationists may object to it being taught to their children as they don’t believe it is true, but that is surely no reason not to teach it as it is very much mainstream science.’

The idea of parents opting their children out of particular lessons is not something Education would consider, although there are exceptions with communal worship, religious studies and certain aspects of sex and relationship education that do not form part of the science curriculum.

Although Deputy Roffey supported a parent’s right to withdraw their children from religious education that they might not believe in, he could not support that opt-out policy extending to science.

‘What next? Those who believe the earth is flat asking for the children to be taken out of geography lessons?’ he said.

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Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, who has been an avid campaigner for greener living and addressing the impact of climate change, said it was worth making the point that the scientific consensus on climate change was ‘incredibly well-established and robust’.

More than 100 commenters engaged with the Guernsey Press’s coverage of these questions across our social media platforms and website.

While many believed Deputy Paint’s concerns were archaic and felt children should be taught about climate change in a factual and responsible way, a number supported his concerns that children were being brainwashed and instilled with fear of something that is nonsense.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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