Schoolchildren are taking a stand against climate change, with thousands of pupils across the country walking out of class to demand immediate action.

Youth Strike 4 Climate movement organisers said strikes are taking place in 60 towns and cities, including Beaconsfield, with youngsters carrying banners bearing slogans saying: "There is no planet B".

Students from Beaconsfield High School (pictured below) have joined in the protests, with head teacher Rachel Smith saying: "We will make a difference on our scale and have lots of ideas [to do this].

“Our children and young people – the future of our planet – feel they have nowhere to go and that no-one is listening.

“We teach our young people about making a difference and having character, pride and resilience, and today’s protests in school let them use their voice as a positive and worthwhile tool.”

Bucks Free Press:

Students took to the school grounds chanting: “We're the revolution, stop pollution.”

Writing to Mrs Smith, student Libby Thompson said instead of striking, the school could start by making small changes.

She wrote: “After a lot of thinking I came to the conclusion that, with everything going on in Government with Brexit (which is currently, unfortunately, preventing climate change action becoming a high priority), protesting, rallying and striking for the purpose of making a point to government is not the way forward.

“However, making a point to the people who do not recycle, don't make an effort to make any difference to the way they live for the sake of the environment, and don't care about the impact of climate change, is important, and needs to be addressed.

“So, instead of striking and waiting for other people to make big changes, our school could start now by making small changes.” 

Mrs Smith added: “It’s been a momentous and transformative day for our community and we will work together with our students to make a difference to our practices and attitudes towards plastic reduction and our impact on the planet.

“From there we will share what we do and if every school makes a small difference we can change so much. We do not agree with lessons being lost and the hard work and preparation of teachers being wasted, so today was a single chance to come together and be a part of the national voice and feel the power of community. 

“We won’t miss lessons again in school but we will do something that makes a difference – why? Because our students are determined, impassioned and seriously concerned.”

Protesters also took the cause to Westminster, descending on Parliament Square to demand change.

Dressed in their school uniforms, some broke into chants of "Save our planet" and "Now, climate justice".

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres voiced her support for the cause, saying the action was "moving".

She said: "It's time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth and schoolchildren, who are so worried about their future that they need to strike to make us pay attention.

"It is a sign that we are failing in our responsibility to protect them from the worsening impacts of climate change."

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "Young people know that their lives are going to be changed dramatically by the impacts of climate change.

"The risks that older people hope they might dodge are the problems the young will inherit.

"And the longer the young wait for action to be taken, the harder it will be for them in future."

But the strikes were not welcomed by school leaders and education secretary Damian Hinds, who said missing class was not the answer.

Mr Hinds said: "I want young people to be engaged in key issues affecting them and involving themselves in causes they care about.

"But let me be clear, missing class won't do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers."

But the demonstrators gained the support of Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who described their actions as a "cause for optimism in an often dark world".

The movement has already seen school strikes in Australia and European countries including Belgium, and was inspired by teenager Greta Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden's parliament to urge leaders to tackle climate change.

The strikes come in the wake of a UN report which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.

That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years.

Students in the UK are demanding the government declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis to the public and reform the curriculum to make it an educational priority.

Anna Taylor, of UK Student Climate Network, said: "We're running out of time for meaningful change, and that's why we're seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.

"Unless we take positive action, the future's looking bleak for those of us that have grown up in an era defined by climate change."