As the UK went to the polls in the most controversial General election for generations, Upton Junior School at Broadstairs had made its decision.
In a mock election for the South Thanet constituency where the school is based, pupils gave Labour a landslide victory.
They went to the ballot box the day before the nation tried to decide on who would hold sway in Parliament.
Children voted for the actual candidates standing in the constituency and posted their voting slips in ballot boxes in the election that was overseen by year 6 House Captains.
There were 488 ballots and the runaway winner when the votes were counted was Labour’s Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt with 190 votes. She was streets ahead of second-placed Martyn Pennington for the Lib Dems who polled 117. Third, was former sitting Member of Parliament for South Thanet Craig Mackinlay on 93, with Becky Wing for the Green Party on 77. There were 11 spoilt ballots.
Tatton Spiller from ‘Simple Politics’ – a former teacher who delivers educational workshops for children – had visited the school in the run-up to the election to explain the key policies of the main parties to children. These included education, health, and the NHS, transport, working conditions and minimum wages.
On Upton’s polling day Deputy Head of School Dave Walker reiterated the information, voting options and themes given in assembly so pupils had a clear understanding of who they were voting for and what policies they felt were most important.
Across the morning all children in the school had the opportunity to vote using official voting slips before the result was officially declared to the school.
Head of School Darci Arthur said: “This was an interesting election day for Upton. Our pupils learn about the importance of democracy as part of their studies but the election gave them a chance to see it in action.
“They were given a good grounding in the issues and learnt about the candidates’ manifestos for South Thanet.
“They made considered choices for our election which was run in a serious and sensible manner.
“With so much interest in the General Election and the fever pitch build-up to polling day, our children were able to play their part and experience one of the most important periods in the country’s political history.”
Upton Junior School is part of the Viking Academy Trust with Chilton Primary School, Ramsgate, and Ramsgate Arts Primary School.
For more information contact Head of School Darci Arthur on 01843 861393.