Friday 13th March 2020
I am writing to update you about the election day on Thursday 7th May 2020.
Prince Rock has been selected as a polling station again. In my view, this is not acceptable. The school has been closed too many times in the last year for election days at great inconvenience to parents and at detriment to the children’s learning.
We have written to the local authority’s education department who agreed that it is “less than ideal” for schools to be used as polling stations but who referred us to the electoral service team of the local authority. We then contacted them and expressed our views. After a delay, we were told by the head of electoral services that they could insist on using the school despite our objections. We suggested the use of a mobile polling station in the car park but this was rejected. We then asked to meet with the head of electoral services to explain our views. Two people who work for the department came to meet myself and Mr. Spry at school and agreed that it is best not to use schools but that mobile polling stations cost money and schools were free. They did, however, agree to go back to the electoral team to request a mobile polling station here as they, like us, could see no alternative.
Since this meeting on Monday, I emailed twice for updates and only received a reply after 5pm yesterday. The local authority have informed us that they will not use a mobile polling station so that we can keep the school open as using the school as a polling station is a “viable option”. I do not understand how they can consider the closure of a school to be a “viable option”.
It is with regret that I have to inform you that the local authority still intend to use our school as a polling station on Thursday 7th May despite our repeated requests that they find an alternative solution. This will, unfortunately, result in the school having to be closed on that day.
It is possible that the elections may be delayed until the Autumn in light of concerns over the coronavirus. If this does happen, the local authority have said that they will conduct an “exhaustive and detailed review” of the use of our school as a polling station. This is not a promise not to use our school.
I will be contacting our local MP, Luke Pollard, to ask him to speak to the local authority on our behalf. Should you wish to express your views, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very sorry that we have not been successful in getting the local authority to find an alternative location but we will continue to request that they do this in the hope that this will be the last occasion when we have to close the school in this manner.
Ms C. Brake