- Lord Robathan said children in Year Six should help keep the roads tidy
- The peer, who was an MP for 23 years, lobbied ministers in the House of Lords
- He insisted it was necessary to do something ‘specific’ and said children could then pass the skills on to their parents
Lord Robathan (pictured) has said every school child should have to pick up litter
Every primary school pupil should be made to pick up litter as part of the national curriculum, a former Tory minister said yesterday.
Lord Robathan, a defence minister under David Cameron, said that if children in Year Six helped tidy the roads, then general attitudes to littering would improve – because they could teach their parents.
He said: ‘If it were enacted that all children spent a couple of hours clearing litter it might have a gradual effect on attitudes and a positive educational impact.’
The peer, who was an MP for 23 years, lobbied ministers in the House of Lords to force primary school children to spend one afternoon every week picking up litter.
He insisted it was necessary to do something ‘specific’ and said children could then pass the skills on to their parents. He added that he raised the idea with Michael Gove, then education secretary, who told him it was an ‘interesting idea’.
Last week, environment minister Therese Coffey welcomed the plans, saying litter collecting could be included in citizenship lessons but not part of the curriculum itself.
In the Lords yesterday, education minister Lord Agnew of Oulton said he agreed about the scourge of litter on Britain’s streets and that the Government was already trying to improve awareness in schools.
But Labour’s Lord Winston said it would be better to focus on the high rates of illiteracy and low rates of numeracy in some primary schools.