Labour gets the classroom vote in Sunderland

Southmoor Academy pupils Laura Stubbs, Kate Hilton and Beth Cutting count the school's ballot papers
Southmoor Academy pupils Laura Stubbs, Kate Hilton and Beth Cutting count the school's ballot papers
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THEY may not have been old enough to cast their votes in the General Election so some Sunderland students held their own mock election.

Students at Southmoor Academy, Ryhope Road, went to the polls after a week of electioneering.

Nearly 750 students from Key Stage Three to Five took part, with the result being a clear victory for Labour.

Liam Clark, lead teacher in citizenship, said: “We held party political broadcasts and detailed each party’s manifesto to inform the students.

“We wanted to teach the students about the importance of democracy and making sure your opinion is heard.

“We highlighted the work of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King and also informed the children about more undemocratic places and times, such as Apartheid and the Holocaust.”

Every student was given the chance to vote and choose between four political parties and Labour came out on top with 48% of the vote, followed by the Liberal Democrats, Ukip and the Conservatives. Voters were asked to vote for the parties rather than an individual so as to highlight the importance of ideologies. Liam said: “We chose not to have students stand as representatives as we did not want to impose political views on anyone, especially with some of the parties’ controversial policies.

“We wanted it to be non-subjective and asked students to vote purely on the policies of parties which we demonstrated through our citizenship classes, where we showed them party materials and engaged in debates.”

After the votes were tallied, Liam said the event would go down as a success and they would look to follow it up in the future.

He said: “I have never seen politics discussed so much at the school, I even heard there had been arguments breaking out over it.

“It shows that voting really does matter, they have stood up and had their voices heard and have really engaged with it.

“We will absolutely look to do more political activities in the future while our citizenship curriculum covers the values of society and democracy.”