Between Brexit and seemingly endless general elections, some voters may have had enough of going to the polls – but they aren’t the only ones suffering.
As schools prepare to to shut once again this week, analysis suggests that pupils have missed more than a week of education in recent years as their classrooms become polling stations.
More than two in three (69 per cent) school leaders believe schools should no longer accommodate voting, according to a poll by The Key, an organisation that provides support to heads.
The findings for the past four years, shared with The Independent, follow a row between the education secretary and election officers over polling stations amid concerns that nativity plays would be cancelled.
The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) called the intervention from the minister “unhelpful” as most of the polling stations had already been booked.
The minister’s plea came after research revealed that one in 12 primary school teachers said the upcoming election would disturb a scheduled festive activity.
On the new findings, Amy Cook, head of content at The Key, said headteachers “have had enough” of school buildings being used as polling stations.
“School leaders are really feeling the stress and financial loss from having to accommodate this snap election,” she said.
Ms Cook added: “In the last four years alone, some schools will have lost over one school week to elections.
“In no other circumstances are schools expected or encouraged to lose a day of education so readily, yet, whenever there’s another election, schools will need to drop everything to comply again.”
“Ultimately, it’s children’s education that suffers,” Ms Cook added.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has said the use of schools as polling stations should be reviewed.
He said: “We appreciate the practical difficulties in identifying suitable places for polling stations but the purpose of schools is obviously educational rather than to accommodate elections.
“The sheer number of elections over the past few years has highlighted this issue – but we need to future-proof the system so that we don’t get into this situation again.”