SCHOOLGIRLS lobbying to protect our planet have seen a landslide of support for their climate change campaign.

More than 46,000 people have signed a petition set up by four pupils from Cheney School in Oxford, arguing that climate change must become a compulsory and more prominent part of the national curriculum.

The teenagers, all aged 15, set up the page just two weeks ago and their plea was backed by BBC journalist John Simpson last night.

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Writing on, the pupils said: "We are deeply concerned about the damage we’re doing to our planet and how it will affect our futures.

"Climate change is the biggest issue of our time, and it must be a part of our education if our generation is to understand it and help us to combat its effects.

"We’ve barely learned about the climate crisis at school, even though it’s supposed to be part of geography and science.

"If young people like us are to have any kind of future, the climate emergency must be a central, core part of our compulsory curriculum."

The Headington secondary school pupils were among those who took part in the mass school strikes over climate change.

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The YouthStrike4Climate walk-outs took place in Oxford on February 15, and again on Friday, and saw hundreds of Oxfordshire children skip school to demonstrate their strength of feeling.

Veteran reporter Mr Simpson tweeted about their petition on Sunday, writing: "Since this the most important problem our planet faces, shouldn’t our children be taught about it?"

Many of his 70,000 followers argued that climate change has long-been a feature of the geography and science GCSE syllabus, however.

One teacher replied: "Aren’t they asking for something they already have?

"Not knocking the idea in any way, but this might give the impression that schools are not teaching this when they already are."

Another teacher agreed but said 'the urgency, the solutions, the inspiration to do more personally needs to be communicated.'

She added: "It needs to be embedded in the curriculum across subject areas...And don't forget that Geography can be dropped in Year 8."

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Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, a former teacher, backed the Cheney pupils' petition.

She tweeted: "It should be weaved into all aspects of the curriculum rather than anything standalone.

"It [climate change] is a highly relevant and engaging lens to teach other content."

The petition is addressed to education secretary Damian Hinds and states: "We don’t want to be left with flooding, wars, famine and climate breakdown just because our governments value economic growth over the wellbeing of our planet.

"We want change."

It also calls for sustainability to be part of the school inspection criteria.