On Thursday 8th May, Richard Lander School gave students the chance to vote for the candidates standing for the Truro/Falmouth seat in the General Election. Students were given a polling card which they swapped for a ballot paper at one of the polling stations located around school, before voting for their candidate of choice. Ballot papers were colour coded by learning community so that a variety of statistics could be collated.
869 students voted before the polls closed at 2:30 and 30 members of the Student Council were involved in running polling stations, preparing canvassing materials, vote counting and compiling statistics in order to get the results out before the end of school.
Jayne Kirkham – Labour - was a clear winner with 389 votes and 45% of the vote, followed by Duncan Odgers – Green Party with 193 votes (22%). Sarah Newton – Conservative, won 13% with the Liberal Democrats on 11% and UKIP – 5%. The remaining papers were spoiled. Students were encouraged to spoil their papers if they felt confused or annoyed by the general election coverage; rather than not voting.
On the day there was a real buzz around school with students discussing where their priorities lay and what influenced their vote. The large proportion of votes for the Green Party shows student concern for the environment.
Student, Mina Panicker – who staffed a polling booth said
‘I think it is important to hold a school election and I have enjoyed hearing people discussing important issues. I think one of the main things which has influenced Richard Lander School voters has been protecting the NHS.’
Student, Spencer Sutcliffe said
‘It is important to hold a school election because students should have a say as well as grown-ups as we will be dealing with the consequences of their decisions. Also it is good to have a practise run before you are actually able to vote for real. The things that influenced my vote were education cuts and tuition fees.’