#UpForSchool petition: Some famous petitions from history to inspire you

Up for School or #upforschool campaign

The #UpForSchool petition is a chance for people around the world to join the call for all children to get their right to education.

You can sign the petition and learn more about it here.

But not before you've read about other petitions that made a real difference.


This petition from an international movement active in 60 countries campaigned for the unpaid debts of poor countries to be cancelled.

It was addressed to the leaders of the G7, the seven richest nations who had caused anger by failing to make progress on debt cancellation.

It gathered 21.1 million signatures and was presented to the United Nations Millennium Summit by U2 singer Bono, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ann Pettifor of Jubilee 2000.


In 2012, an American high school student who had been a victim of bullying, was outraged when a movie on the subject was given a rating that meant young people couldn't see it.

The film, called Bully, originally got an R rating in cinemas because of bad language. The petition started by Katy Butler from Michigan called for a PG-13 rating. 

More than 500,000 people signed it and the Motion Picture Association of America caved in to public pressure.


More than 5000 petitions were delivered to Britain's parliament between 1828 and 1833 calling for the abolition of slavery in British colonies.

There were scores of women's groups involved and the biggest demonstration of support the National Female Petition Against Slavery in 1833, which got 187,157 signatures. 

Later that year the Salvery Abolition Act was passed and the practice began to be eradicated throughout the British Empire.


Last year the government in Tanzania said it would evict a Masai community from their traditional lands to make way for tourists to hunt big game.

The elders turned to the campaigning website Avaaz and 1.7 million people have signed their petition, which was featured by international media.

The Masai have been told the eviction will no longer happen – but they are waiting to get this in writing and the petition is still open.


After education campaigner Malala Yousafzai and two friends were shot by the Taliban in Pakistan, a call for action was launched by United Nations Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown.

A petition, calling on Pakistan to deliver education for all children and legislate against discrimination towards girls, gained more than one million signatures.

The Pakistani government responded by announcing a programme, funded by international partners, to support three million of its poorest children by paying a $2 per month stipend to their families for each of the children in school.


In 1971 – three years after Martin Luther King was murdered – a petition with three million signatures called for his birthday to be made a federal holiday. Despite that and 45 attempts in the US Congrees, nothing happened.

In 1979, when King would have turned 50, his widow Coretta Scott King instructed the King Center staff to campaign for the holiday, including a petition drive. They later teamed up with Stevie Wonder, who released the single Happy Birthday.

In 1982, the singer and Mrs King delivered a petition with six million signatures to Congress. Eventually, the first Martin Luther King Jr Day was observed in 1986 . It is held every year on the third Monday of January.


And here are a couple of more fun petitions that attracted thousands of signatures.

In Australia in 2000, a petition with 792,985 signatures was presented to the Australian parliament – to protest about an increase in beer prices.

And a petition to the White House to have pop star Justin Bieber deported from the USA back to Canada gathered 275,000 signatures. The White House response was: “Sorry to disappoint but we won't be commenting on this one.”

Now go and sign the #UpForSchool petition!

More news

See all news