Felixstowe Academy students from all year groups took to the polls at the same time as the national General Election, as part of the Academy’s Mock Election. The vote was a culmination of a three week Mock Election campaign which has seen hundreds of students choose to register their desire to vote as part of an SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) project.
The project ensured everyone within the Academy community, including staff and students, had a part to play with roles including ‘Registration Officers, ‘Polling Officers’, ‘Counting Officers’, ‘Political Teams’ and as voters.
Sixth Form students took the lead for the ‘Political Teams’, encouraging students from other year groups to join their teams as ‘committee members’ or ‘grass roots activists’. The response was fantastic and ensured there were pro-active support in all year groups, especially when it came to choosing the manifesto topics.
Votes were cast on General Election Day, with the result being read out to the Academy community by our 'Returning Officer' (and Chair of Governors) Mrs Susan Robinson. With only two votes in it, the Green Party team secured victory closely followed by the Conservative Party team.
The campaign started by asking students, in their Tutor Groups, to list the issues they were most interested in on a personal level, local level, national level and international levels. The five ‘Political Teams’ then chose three key areas they would fight the election on based on student feedback, but linking it to their respective national political party manifestos. The result was a campaign fought on the NHS, the environment, equality, education, public transport, public services, immigration, voting age and employment.
To encourage voter support, the ‘Political Teams’ created videos, designed leaflets, presented in assemblies, held a ‘soap box’ event in lunchtimes and took part in a Question Time session led by Head Girl Brittany Van Wezel which was simultaneously broadcast to the student community.
Academy Principal Mr Salter was delighted by response from students saying ‘I am extremely proud of the way this campaign has engaged students to openly discuss the issues that are important to them within our society, across all year groups.’
With student voter turnout expected to surpass 65%, it is great to see so many students actively engage with this key aspect of British life and from this project a new Debating Club will be formed. Results from the Academy will be added to a national Mock Election results service to see the voting patterns of students across the country.