Primary school council elections


I got a lovely email today from one of the schools we’ve been working with this year. They’re thinking about how their school council elections will run next year and wanted some advice. It reminded me that I’d written this resource a while ago but not posted it for some reason.

It contains:

  • A recommended timeline for setting up a school council election.
  • 2 lesson plans for how to prepare classes across the school for taking part.
  • A manifesto worksheet for pupils to use to recommend themselves.

Have a look and let us know if you find it useful and how you’ve improved on it.

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You can download a PDF here (keeps all the formatting and fonts):  [Download not found]

Or a Word file here (if you want to  edit and adapt it): [Download not found]

I also gave the teacher who emailed some other tips:

  1. Get in touch with Haringey Democratic Services: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/council/voting.htm#contact – they should be able to lend you proper ballot boxes and booths, they may even send someone to talk to the school about how elections are run (of course you’d want to check that they were used to speaking to young children).
  2. Have children as the returning officers: counting votes and announcing the results – they need a little training, especially on confidentiality, but it tends to work very well – make sure they only announce the winner, not how many votes each person got as that can be embarrassing and upsetting. If you didn’t want to get children from the school to do it, members of Haringey Youth Council may be able to (if we could get them out of school), they are keen to develop relationships with primary schools.
  3. Make sure you do some prep with all the classes before the nominations, hustings and elections, so people know why they should stand, what they should put in their manifestos and why they should vote for someone (who isn’t their friend). The attached document has a suggested process and some sessions that teachers could run with their classes (of course please feel free to adapt them to your situation).

Obviously if you’re not in Haringey you’ll want to talk to your local Democratic Services and Youth Council, not ours, but you get the idea.

And just because it’s so great to get feedback like this, this is the email that prompted it:

Hi Asher,

Just wanted to say thank you for all your help with the School Council this year- it has really improved a lot! I now meet with my School Council members every week, and there are class council meetings every other week when children give their opinions on a range of important issues. They’ve seen lots of changes take place and are beginning to understand the power of pupil voice. Every classroom has a display and space for children to make suggestions.

Now everyone wants to be in School Council next year! We are going to have manifestos, speeches, and a proper election with ballot boxes voting cards in September. If you can give any advice on how to develop this idea further, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Laura
Alexandra Primary

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