Pupils take part in their own election

Pupils at Marden Bridge Middle School get ready to vote.
Pupils at Marden Bridge Middle School get ready to vote.
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Children have been learning about politics by taking part in their own election.

Pupils at Marden Bridge Middle School, in Whitley Bay, cast their votes on the same day their parents were voting.

This is the first time we have attempted a Mock Election, and it was great to see so many pupils learning about Citizenship through their enthusiastic participation

Life studies teacher Annie Wright

And the school’s first ever Mock General Election matched the local scene with a resounding success for the Labour who claimed 79 votes with Conservatives second on 25. UKIP and the Green Party were joint third with 24 votes while the LibDems got nine votes. Turnout was 80.2 per cent.

Year 8 pupil Katie Dawkins was the Returning Officer, working alongside peers as polling clerks, with the result announced just after 4pm.

Life studies teacher Annie Wright said: “This is the first time we have attempted a Mock Election, and it was great to see so many pupils learning about Citizenship through their enthusiastic participation.

“Staff were supportive and intrigued to see how the day was progressing, and amused by the line of patient voters waiting in the corridor.”

Headteacher John Newport said: “I really enjoyed talking to the pupils about why they were voting for a certain party. Lots of the pupils had a really well rounded view of why they were voting and had researched information about the parties.”

Annie added: “By the time our next General Election comes around, most of our Year 8 pupils will be voting for the first time. I do hope they will feel better prepared for their own first steps, as adults, through their participation, together with the other democratic opportunities that Marden Bridge offers.”

Annie concluded: “I find Life Studies an exciting subject to teach, covering many life skills that young people need as they become increasingly independent. The content is very diverse and sometimes quite ‘edgy’.

“On a personal level, we look at the ingredients of a fulfilling, useful and happy life, as well as the classic pitfalls such as addiction, abuse and radicalisation. On a community and society level we look at sometimes rapidly changing global phenomena such as prejudice, extremism and war.

“Young people these days are eager to embrace these issues, and I am always impressed by the depth of their feeling about injustice in its various forms.”