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Students from Gad's Hill School in Higham have taken part in their very own election to get them all more interested in politics.
For the last two weeks the school has been running a parallel election campaign, alongside the general election. Three pupils ran as candidates representing the three major parties and on Thursday 6th May, the pupils and members of staff went to the polling station to vote.
A week prior to Election Day the school held a debate, allowing each candidate to put their point across, as well as answering questions from an audience of their peers. Amongst the questions were demands to know how each party would deal with university tuition fees, immigration and the environment.
Mufaro Jayaguru, aged 15, who stood as the Labour candidate said, ‘If I could give one reason why someone should vote Labour, it would be that they are the only party who can really sort out the economic crisis’
Interestingly, although Mufaro says he has learnt an enormous amount about politics and particularly the Labour party, if he was able to vote he would still be unsure as to which party to vote for, adding, ‘I just feel that all the parties have such similar policies, I know this because I have read every manifesto!’.
Representing the Liberal Democrats was, Year 10, pupil Harrison Hedges, who focused on the Lib Dems policies on university tuition fees for much of his campaign, saying, ‘This made sense as it’s an issue that will, in the near, future effect the majority of pupils here at Gad’s’
Harrison now says that he is serious about looking at a career in politics and if he could vote today, he would have no hesitation in putting an x in the box next to Lib Dem.
Luca Cientanni, 14, was the school’s Conservative representative commenting, ‘ I believe that the Conservatives are the best party for upholding family values, for creating a society that is based around the family and that’s important ‘
Luca was also quite honest about his opinions of politics as a whole, saying, ‘It’s still a pretty dirty and gritty game, this may only have been a school election, but things got heated between us, I have won friends and lost some!’
All of the candidates were supported by a team of running mates who worked tirelessly to make posters, help write speeches and canvass for votes. Harrison would particularly like to thank his sister, Lavinia Hedges, who he says was pivotal in putting his campaign together.
Head of Senior School, Mr. Bertwistle who was responsible for putting the election together said, ‘I could go on for ages about the range of benefits this election has given the students, from political awareness to team building and self confidence. It’s been very interesting to hear the election talk in the corridors and I am delighted that the school as a whole has really entered into the spirit of this’
Winning with 58% of the votes were the Conservatives, closely followed by the Liberal Democrats with 37% and just 4% went for Labour.