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General Election set to disrupt primary school Christmas events

The timing of the poll could be ‘particularly disruptive’ for primaries, school leaders said.

(Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

By Alison Kershaw, PA Education Correspondent

Around one in 12 primary school teachers says the General Election is set to disrupt nativity plays and Christmas concerts, a poll suggests.

School leaders are warning that the timing of polling day – December 12 – could prove “particularly disruptive” for primary schools as it is likely to clash with traditional festive events.

One union boss said it was time to review whether schools are suitable to be used as polling stations.

It really is time to review whether schools are suitable venues for use as polling stations Geoff Barton, ASCL

A poll by Teacher Tapp of 1,481 state primary teachers, first reported by Schools Week, found that almost one in five (17%) said their school will be used as a polling station.

And around 7% – almost one in 12 – said a fun activity, such as a concert, party or nativity play would now be disrupted.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “Elections are always an organisational headache for schools that are used as polling stations.

“And the timing of this General Election could prove particularly disruptive, landing during a special time of year for many primary schools and clashing with nativity plays or other seasonal celebrations.”

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(PA Graphics)

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told the PA news agency: “It really is time to review whether schools are suitable venues for use as polling stations.

“The General Election will be the third time that schools have been disrupted this year following the local elections and European elections. And this is the third General Election in four years.

“To make matters worse, there is very little time to adjust timetables and planning for Christmas events because the timing of the election was not known until very recently.

“There may sometimes be no alternative to using a school, such as in rural locations, but they really should be the last resort when there is absolutely no alternative.”

Sir Steve Lancashire, chief executive of the Reach2 academy trust, the largest primary-only academy trust in England said their schools would still be holding events.

“We will be moving any Christmas events where necessary – these traditions are very important to children and families and are immutable.

“Elections come and go.”

PA

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