“Friday is a school day, students are required to be at school,” Mitchell said.

“You know, if kids want to go and protest about climate change or any other issue they’re entitled to do that, but they should be doing it outside of school hours, it should be after 3:30, on a weekend, we’ve got school holidays coming up.

“I’ve not been convinced by any rationale why this can’t take place outside of school hours and ultimately parents should be sending their kids to school on Friday.”

Host Steve Price also criticised Newington College headmaster Michael Parker’s widely publicised letter to parents explaining his decision to support the climate strike, labelling it “virtue signalling”.

Mitchell said that she’s not aware of any NSW public schools that are supporting the climate strike.

“Our policy is clear: school is compulsory, students need to be at school on Friday, if they’re not there, their parents need to provide a reason as to why,” Mitchell said.

“Any unexplained absences can be dealt with by each individual school but the best way for these students to become informed citizens, frankly, is to get an education. Nothing should come in front of them being at school on Friday, they shouldn’t be attending the strike in my view as minister.”