Date published: 21 October 2019
Parish Church School children taking part in a mock election
Pupils from Parish Church School in Gainsborough joined West Lindsey District Council for a glimpse into the world of local government.
The year 5 children met Cllr Steve England, the Council Chairman, as well as Cllr White, Cllr Milne, Cllr Clews and Cllr Lawrence in the Council Chamber at the Guildhall.
After an introduction by the Chairman and a presentation about local government they started their morning’s tasks by matching the responsibilities of committees with the person who may take on this role.
Lily-Mae, 9, said: “It was really hard to match the job to the person!”
The children were, however, quite knowledgeable when it came to current politicians, with many able to name Boris Johnson as the current PM and Sir Edward Leigh as their local MP. They were also able to name the three most prominent political parties.
Following the quiz, the children took part in a mock election, arriving at the polling station, collecting their ballot paper and casting votes for pre-determined candidates, who included environmental activist Greta Thunberg and Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson.
Results were read by Alan Robinson, Director of Governance at the Council, acting as Returning Officer for the count, with Greta Thunberg narrowly winning the vote.
The vote was then run again, but to highlight an issue that occurs regularly in local elections, a number of pupils weren’t allowed to vote due them having not registered.
The children were asked about the importance of being able to vote.
Harry, 9, said: “You choose who will get in, and who will improve your town.”
This trip follows a visit that the Year 6 pupils made to Parliament earlier in the year.
Year 5/6 teacher, Deborah Lavers, said: “The children learnt about MPs and how to vote and also wrote their own manifestos, utilising their persuasive writing skills. Experiences like this help to embed their learning.”
The Year 5 children will make the same trip next year, building on the knowledge gained at the Guildhall.
Cllr Steve England reflected positively on the afternoon: “The children were engaged and enthusiastic and showed a good understanding of local government and the voting process.
“We feel it is important to instil the importance of voting in young people, as they will soon be able to have their say.”