December 2019: School’s mock election bucks national trend

OUR STUDENTS went to the polls in our mini version of the General Election and returned a Labour ‘MP’.

Mimicking the real thing, polling cards were handed out to students, they lined up and exchanged them for ballot papers, went behind polling booths to make their mark in secret before casting their vote in the ballot boxes.

Liberal Democrat candidate James Turner then quizzed every 10th student for their voting preference to collate data for the exit poll.

Five candidates were up for election and Returning , Mrs Powell, announced the results after a day of voting:

Akeefah Tasnia – Labour 481 votes

Tarek Ahmed – Common Ground 317 votes

Oliver Evans – Conservative 309 votes

James Turner – Liberal Democrats 276 votes

Mariam Gul – Green Party 79 votes

Majority 164

Spoiled – 62

She said: “I would like to say thanks to everyone who joined in, especially the staff who managed to get every class through in time; I really appreciate their support with this.

“Students were fantastic and seemed to really enjoy the experience. Also, a massive thank you to the admin team for making sure it all ran so smoothly. It will be interesting to see how this compares to the national picture.”

A delighted Akeefah said: “I would like the thank everyone for making the decision to vote for a better life for themselves; we are for the many and not the few.”

The election saw candidates design posters and also give presentations to year group assemblies. A random ‘Garfield’ Party also emerged and created posters but its supporters classed as a spoilt ballot paper.

Four of the candidates were eligible to vote for the first time in a General Election and for Tarek and Mariam, it meant returning to their former primary school to make their mark.

Members of the Student Council were polling clerks. Lily Cartmell, 11, said: “I think it is important for students to understand politics so when they are older they can understand how to vote and work out who they want to vote for.”

There was lots of talk about tactical voting and James, who is a member of the Liberal Democrat Party, said: “I have previously voted in the European election when I spoilt my ballot paper, but in the General Election I voted tactically and voted Labour.”

Tarek won the school’s mock election in 2017 as the Labour candidate however he has become disaffected with the way national politics was going.

He said: “A vote for me as the Common Ground candidate is a protest vote.

“If I get a significant amount of votes I will be writing to my MP to say that having only come up with my party and its policies three weeks ago I have still been able to beat the establishment.

“I think everyone is fed up and they are voting for the least bad option.”

Green party candidate Mariam was in favour of proportional representation as she said it would give her party a fairer representation in parliament.