General election will give schools an 'organisational headache'

Schools used as polling stations have less than two months to make arrangements for potential closures on the day of the general election

News article image

Schools face a “headache” in light of a general election – especially if they face a “double closure” with the local elections next month, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has said.

This morning, prime minister Theresa May called a snap election for 8 June, citing the need for “strong and stable leadership” during the Brexit process.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “It is a day of education lost. It will probably be slightly irritating that they may have already had to close for some of the local council elections.”

Schools need a reasonable amount of notice to prepare - especially if they have events or extra curriculum activities planned.

June 8th. So schools that are polling stations are having to close at short notice. Great. Was it so hard to wait until September?

— gillian pearce (@gillpea) April 18, 2017

Mr Hobby added: “It is just another organisational headache for schools.They will have to get notifications out pretty quickly.”

It is often primary schools that are used as polling stations, but some concern has been raised that secondaries – which have GCSEs, AS and A-levels taking place that day – could face also disruption:

@EmporiumMaths Hopefully no secondary schools used as polling centres! #noroomattheinn

— Yorkshire Steve (@Yorkshire_Steve) April 18, 2017


June 8th is bang in the middle of exams, what happens to people whose schools are polling stations? This is a bit of a mess

— :D (@2quidhmk) April 18, 2017




Wait a minute - isn't June when the schools sit their exams? The polling booths will have to be set up in the car-parks then. #Election

— Sharon Owens (@SOwensWriter) April 18, 2017

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "It is potentially incovenient as it is happening at exam time. However, it is a time when not all the students are in school because of examinations."

On Thursday June 8, students will sit GCSE exams in maths, economics and psychology. And sixth-formers will sit a number of exams - including government and politics.

If used as polling stations, secondary schools will close off a small area away from the exams, Mr Trobe said. 

He added: "It is more of an inconvenience for primary schools as they would normally make it a staff training day but there is not enough time to do this now."

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow Tes on Twitter and like Tes on Facebook

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you