Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Running an Election With Primary School Children

Last election I had a fabulous time running school elections, these were on issues the children decided – relevant to the school. While the issues didn’t mirror the national elections we attempted to mirror their structure as much as possible. This meant we had debates and polling, newspaper articles talking about the next big thing and live reaction tracking during debates.

Newspaper articles were used in guided reading sessions and there were discussions about how to carry out statistically valid polling. It created a buzz around the school and there were a lot of lovely moments: a boy confidently telling the school hall they had a decision to make – something he had picked up watching Ed Miliband. Another boy, who had had various behavioural difficulties at school, telling me he had really enjoyed the whole process, particularly how everyone had listened to and respected each other. The best thing about it for me was how conversations on the playground and in the corridors started to follow the forms of those happening around the country. Who had performed best in the debates? Did you trust the polls? Which policies would be best for the school? This provided many pupils who might not have previously engaged in politics a voice in, and understanding of, this national conversation.

Here is one of the articles a child wrote for the election, accompanied by the graph it quotes:


Sun Shines on Rainbow

It’s a happy day for Rainbow politics as they head the running list for Larkrise elections. Though in the initial poll Loyal were leading with twice as many votes after hustings there is a dip in their support. It is surprising that Prime have done so well after coming last in the poll, showing that they appeal to a wide range of people (but maybe not as the first choice). It seems that the people’s favourite is Rainbow, as mood in the audience significantly rose when they performed their polished speech. Though all the parties agree on the subject of food on the floor Prime, showing leadership, was the only one to offer a solution. Despite uniform being Rainbow’s most individual point the mood was lowest when it was mentioned. The same thing is true for Loyal, despite their extremely different views. Curriculum was exceptionally popular for Rainbow, scoring an average of 9 out of 10 compared to Loyal with 6 and Prime on 7. Though this is the current mood it could all change after the KS1 assembly. We can also report exclusive hints from an insider that they will be producing some new policies early next week. Voters should gather in their circles to vote on 6th May, until then we can only wonder who will win.

Election Correspondent ____________

What next? – We are now discussing what we will do this year. Initial thoughts are tending towards a closer shadowing of the issues of the actual election. I will probably use the Political Compass test with my class to give them a bit of a theoretical background before exploring some specific issues. What are your schools planning to do? What have you done before and how has it worked?

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