Zamzam, SOS-UK and NUS UK president, reflects on a remarkable event in Parliament, engaging our MPs in the Teach the Future campaign with UKSCN.
On 26 February 2020, I and 46 AMAZING students, aged 13 to 26, held an event in Parliament to engage our elected representatives in the Teach the Future campaign.
The event was hosted by the Nadia Whittome MP (Labour), and included speeches by Scarlett Westbrook (15), Minister Amanda Solloway MP (Conservatives), Baroness Sheehan (Liberal Democrats), Amelia Womack (Green Party), Kevin Courtney (NEU General Secretary), Nigel Topping (COP26) and Vice Chancellors Sir Anthony Seldon and Joy Carter.
The event was attended by at least 53 MPs, here is a list of MPs that we know definitely attended, but we know quite a few more arrived as the event progressed, we think that, in total, over 70 MPs and peers joined us.
At the event we proudly unveiled our Climate Emergency Education Bill, with the cover letter we wrote together. A lot of work went into our thinking about what our bill should say, including what acts of parliament we needed to change, and what amounts of money we will need to do what needs to be done. You can read our assumptions behind the £23.37bn net zero costs figure here.
So many thanks to the 565 people that supported our crowdfunder, and Ashden, We have the Power, and Endsleigh Insurance for supporting us too, Energise Ltd for doing the costings work, and Kate and Harry at Harrison Grant for turning our bill into legalese. Without your collective help and encouragement we just would not have had the confidence or resources to create the bill and run the reception. And thanks to Lily and two Mary’s for their amazing Teach the Future banners, and my wonderful team at SOS-UK for looking after all the safeguarding and logistics.
Joe was back on BBC Five Live again before the event, and here are some of the articles about the event: Desmog; English Forums; TES; The Conversation; The Ecologist; The Student Room; Wonkette. Here is our first ever press release too.
Although we are all feeling triumphant today, yesterday was just the end of the beginning.
Since November 2019 we have developed our asks, won the support from all the main environmental charities and the main trade unions, written a bill, got ourselves media-trained, done a dozen radio and TV interviews and run a big event in parliament. We now need to build on our momentum and redouble our efforts.
For now we really need your help further engaging MPs on the back of our reception. We have a key meeting with the Secretary of State for Education on 09 March 2020 and are working to ensure people close to him tell him we are a sensible and pragmatic bunch of students making some very valid requests. We would be eternally grateful if you would write to your MP and ask them to help us turn our bill into legislation. Hopefully some of them will offer to help influence ministers in the Department for Education, as they hold the power that we need onside if we are to succeed. You can see our updated MP ask at ww.teachthefuture.uk/mp, please do write to your MPs this week or early next if you can!
We are on a mission to repurpose or education system and save our future, and we are so grateful to have you all behind us.
Zamzam Ibrahim (25)