15th June 2001 at 01:00
A day in the life of Brampton Manor school, Newham, east London.

As a part of the tutorial and citizenship programme, Year 9 pupils at this 1,630-pupil, 11-16 comprehensive ran a mock general election to mirror the real thing on June 7. Coincidentally, the local constituency, East Ham, was attempting to be the first to declare, so the local authority sent a camera team along to video proceedings.

Pupils split into three groups to represent Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats. They got in touch with the real parties and researched policies and philosophies before creating their own campaigns to persuade their fellow Year 9 pupils to vote for them.

On the big day, all Year 9 pupils gathered in the West Hall. The three party leaders submitted to a grilling from the floor as they presented their policies and pleaded for support. Ballot papers were collected on the way out, and counted by Year 7 pupils, under the watchful eyes of party workers. Brampton Manor declared at 2.45pm, eight-and--half hours before Newham, and, just as in the real thing,Labour stormed it, polling 146 votes to the Conservatives' and Liberal Democrats' 52 votes each.

The pupils enjoyed the exercise, especially posting the results on the BBC's Newsround website. Labour leader Deanne Marler says: "The question time helped the audience understand the issues and vote sensibly. When I was waiting to speak I was nervous. But when I stood up and spoke, it kind of made me feel excited, and I think I would like to have a go at the real thing when I am older."

Party leaders: (l-r) Kayode, Deanne and Sarah

The voters decide - or maybe not

Poster power: Labour's publicity machine in action

On the stump: Labour leader Deanne

Election broadcast: the camera team catches it all

Tally-ho: party workers keep a careful eye on the count

I hereby declare: announcing the results

It's in the bag: collecting the ballot papers

Snaps by Prodeepta Das

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