A HAMPSHIRE head teacher says he had “no choice” but to support a student protest on climate change.

Head of New Forest Small School Nicholas Alp has criticised teachers who plan to stop children from going to tomorrow’s demonstration, saying they are “hypocritical.”

As reported environmentalists came under fire for encouraging school children to skip school in order to protest at the The Youth 4 Strike Climate demonstration - being held at Guildhall Square on February 15.

Speaking to the Echo Mr Alp said science pupils at the Lyndhurst school asked if they could go as part of their GCSE lessons.

Mr Alp - who runs the £3,300 a term school with his wife Alison - said: “It came from them. As an alternative school we are very supportive of these issues and they are showing initiative. That’s what our school is all about. We wouldn’t let them out for any old reason.

“I felt this has got them to engage with climate change - which is part of the national curriculum. I know a lot of schools are talking about the dilemma head teachers have around this - and some schools are saying we can’t really allow pupils to go but if we go it won’t be the end of the world. It seems a bit hypocritical to me.

“I felt we had no choice - it would better for us to be there.

“We are often complaining that this new generation are politically disengaged and more interested in social media.

“So when they want to become engaged in peaceful protest, which is part of democratic rights, I think we should support them.”

Also going to the demonstration is part time teacher Alex James, who teaches primary pupils at the school.

He said: “There is this great big issue and it is children’s lives that are going to be affected by climate change.

“We need to be better at listening to children.

“It’s very difficult for children to express the view they have on things - so we should support them when we can.

“We have to respect and listen to children’s voices more.”

The Youth Strike 4 Climate has been organised in countries around the world as a response to Swedish teen activist Greta - who set up a strike in August 2018 outside the Swedish parliament building to raise awareness of global warming.

New Forest Small School for 3-16 year olds has 72 pupils and began as a Montessori kindergarten in 1994. It has a maximum of 14 pupils per class - where "our favourite classroom space is outdoors.

Last year Ofsted rated it “good” with “outstanding” personal development .