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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 12:29 GMT
Pupils abandon lessons over war protest
Pupils from Queensbridge School take part in an anti-war protest
Pupils held an hour-long rally in Victoria Square
More than 300 children from a Birmingham school have walked out of lessons to take part in an anti-war protest.

More than half the pupils at Queensbridge School in Moseley joined college and university students in the centre of Birmingham to protest against possible military action in Iraq.

Disregarding warnings that their actions would result in them being marked as absentees, they travelled in three double-decker buses from the school into the city centre.

Students handed out leaflets and then held an hour-long rally in Victoria Square.

'Strong opinions'

One of the organisers of the protest was the 14-year-old son of the health minister Lord Hunt.

Jacob Hunt Stewart said the youth of the city wanted to make their voices heard.

He told BBC WM: "We feel the government view and line on the situation is wrong and that the youth in this country in not being listened to strongly enough.

"We have very strong opinions on world issues and this one particularly. If the government ignores people up to 18, it is ignoring a large part of the population.

Pupils from Queensbridge School take part in an anti-war protest
Pupils handed out leaflets
"As health minister, my dad follows the government line but he believes I am mature enough to make my own decisions," he said.

One pupil said they should have been in lessons.

"Our teachers have allowed us to travel here today to show how angry we are about having a war with another country," she said.

Birmingham City Council expressed its concern at parents agreeing to their children leaving school and going to another location unattended.

The education authority said all those who had taken part in the rally would be marked with an unauthorised absence but no further action would be taken.

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