Councillors are calling for schools in Lichfield and Burntwood not to be closed because of elections in May.

Voters are due to go to the polls on 6th May for Staffordshire County Council elections, Staffordshire Commissioner elections and some by-elections.

A number of schools are regularly used as polling stations, leading to an additional day off for pupils.

But with many only due to return to the classroom on 8th March following the national coronavirus restrictions, Cllr Sue Woodward said councils should avoid shutdowns to accommodate voters.

The county councillor and Burntwood Town Council leader said:

Cllr Sue Woodward

“The last thing families need is another day of school disruption and I recently wrote to the Lichfield District Council chief executive expressing my concerns about this, especially given the uncertainties parents still face around work and child care arrangements. 

“I’m pleased to say that Diane Tilley has confirmed that they are actively reviewing the use of schools as polling stations and hopes to be able to announce any alternative venues in good time for polling cards to be printed and sent out.

“I’m sure many families will welcome this.”

Cllr Sue Woodward

The issue is being taken up by councillors across the county.

Cllr Charlotte Atkins, leader of the Labour group at Staffordshire County Council, said:

“If schools are used as polling stations, they could be closed entirely, not just for one day, but longer to accommodate deep cleaning before and after voting takes place.

“It is vital that hard-pressed council election teams do all they can to reduce the impact of these elections on schools.

“Otherwise, children will be back from their Easter holidays just a few weeks before they are out again for the elections. 

“That break will be very unwelcome for children and parents who are desperate to get back to normal school timetables and to settle their children back into school life.

“The search for alternative polling station sites is urgent to avoid this further disruption of schools.

“Children and parents have suffered enough already.”

Cllr Charlotte Atkins

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3 Comments

  1. I totally agree and this should have been implemented a long time ago. My polling station was also my children’s primary school, and right next door is a perfectly good community centre that would be a perfect Polling Station, and would probably be glad of the fee.
    Some years ago, I wrote to both the school and the Council to ask my the Community Centre was not considered for use as a Polling Station rather than the school. The school replied to say that they are obliged to be a Polling Station if requested (not true) and the Council replied to say the are obliged to use the school because it is a public building (also not true).

    I hope Cllr Woodward gets a positive response.

  2. I agree cllr i really hope the turn out is higher safely and this idea welcome for a fair choice we need a strong bounce back for our districts to
    Survive perhaps out side polling
    John madden lichfield

  3. Thanks to both councillors for taking a lead on this when other parties, including the one I support, do not seem to care. The lack of basic understanding and awareness of many councillors from other parties is staggering. So is their silence on so many issues affecting local people over the last 12 months. Why do we never hear local Conservatives explaining their views on free school meals, support for the self-employed who have been affected by the pandemic, or the failure of Government to keep its promise on providing IT support to children having to take lessons remotely. Do they support their party’s stance on this 100% or have opposing views? I’m sure the electorate would be interested to know their views.

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