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Westbourne Academy pupils go to the polls in own mini-election

To coincide with the General Election 2017, pupils at Westbourne Academy held their own mock election including pupils nominating themselves to stand as candidates, a ‘Question Time’ style hustings and the whole academy going to the polls on Thursday 8 June.

Initiated and organised by Mrs Carmen Blanch and Mr Dan Payne, Heads of House, pupils from Westbourne Academy were invited to put themselves forward to stand as representatives of each of the major parties. Mr Payne commented: “The level of interest was amazing.  We hadn’t expected such a passionate response. In fact the number of pupils involved was so vast that when the ‘hustings’ took place in the style of a ‘Question Time’ debate it was standing room only in the academy’s library.”

Topics debated at the hustings included ‘how much money could be saved if Trident were scrapped’ and ‘the impact of a progressive rate of income tax’ amongst others.  A lively debate ensued about how the various parties intended to finance their ideas.  Eloquently argued and rebutted, each of the party candidates had a chance to have their say. Chris Earley, one of the Labour representatives commented: “It has been so interesting, researching the policies and preparing our speeches. I enjoyed the hustings debate the most though.”

Along with the rest of the country, pupils went to vote on Thursday 8 June. Mr Trott, acting as Returning Officer, announced the results to a packed assembly hall on Friday afternoon. On completion of the count, the academy’s electorate overwhelmingly voted for Labour, which secured 54% of votes.

Garry Trott, Principal at Westbourne Academy said “The knowledge and passion shown by all of the party candidates was very impressive – the Green Party candidate Emily Doncaster was especially vocal and persuasive.  Pupils who came to the hustings ready to challenge the parties were equally well-informed and the whole experience has been tremendous to behold. Regardless of the result, however, something far bigger had happened. It became very apparent that the young people of Westbourne Academy do care about what is happening in our country on a political level and very much look forward to having their say when they become eligible to vote.”

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