Michael Gove has agreed to meet with some of the pupils who walked out of lessons last week to protest against climate change – saying he recognises his generation "has a lot more to do".
Theresa May had criticised the young people who took part in the strike action last Friday, for causing "disruption" to teachers and "wasting lesson time," while education secretary Damian Hinds said it would increase teacher workload.
But former education secretary Mr Gove, who is now environment secretary, said the "urgency with which they [pupils] make the case for change is compelling and attractive" during a debate in the House of Commons today.
Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said during environment questions that "thousands of young people showed that they recognise we're facing a real climate emergency".
The Labour backbencher asked the secretary of state if he would meet some of those from his constituency "so they can press that emergency upon him".
Mr Gove said: "I would be more than happy to. This is an issue which is very close to home for me.
"I do appreciate that for many young people last Friday was an important day and an opportunity to say to my generation that more must be done."
Conservative MP Nigel Huddleston later asked the minister to join him in "thanking the enthusiasm" of the thousands of young people who came out to demonstrate their concerns about climate change and the environment.
The party's new vice chairman for youth added: "And while there is much more to do, does he agree that the government is already acting on many of their concerns?"
Mr Gove replied: "Of course it's important that young people's voices are heard, and the urgency with which they make the case for change is compelling and attractive."
But he said it is also true that "steps have been taken by this government" as well as previous administrations "to ensure we reduce carbon emissions and that we play our part in the fight against climate change".
He added: "There's a lot done, but there's a lot more to do."