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Sidegate Primary School holds innovative project to help pupils understand General Election

PUBLISHED: 15:47 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:47 05 May 2017

T.H.O.L. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Matthew (Centre R) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich.
 Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

T.H.O.L. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Matthew (Centre R) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

Richard Marsham - RMG Photography Tel - 07798 758711

Youngsters at a top Ipswich primary school have been getting into the election spirit this month with a full campaign to mirror the General Election.

F.U.S.E. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Isobelle (Centre L) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich.
 Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHYF.U.S.E. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Isobelle (Centre L) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

Sidegate Primary School has tasked its three year five classes with forming their own parties, which will come up with manifestos, vote for a party leader from the class, and campaign for votes in other classes across the school, which each represent a constituency.

On June 8, while adults nationwide will be casting their votes for the General Election, pupils at the school will be casting ballots before votes are counted and elected ‘MPs’ invited to form the parliament on the school’s stage.

Headteacher Wendy James and year five teacher Alicia Marsh originally held a mock election during the 2015 General Election, with the success of that year prompting the school to launch the 2017 campaign.

“It was brilliant, we really enjoyed it last time,” Ms James said. “We try to replicate it as best as possible.

F.U.S.E. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Isobelle (Centre L) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich.
 Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHYF.U.S.E. Party candidates discuss the manifesto with party leader, Isobelle (Centre L) ahead of mock elections at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

“Alongside the curriculum opportunities offered, such a project also develops pupils’ understanding of Britain’s democratic processes. This is a key part of becoming an active member of society in adulthood.”

She added that the election would help Sidegate pupils feel more engaged as they grow up.

Staff at the school have already reported that the children understand why and how their parents vote, and have incorporated the projet into all walks of the curriculum.

Writing a manifesto has been used in persuasive writing English lessons, budgeting in maths lessons and learning about democracy in year six history.

Party Leaders and their deputies pictured ahead of mock election at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich (L-R) Jasper and Samiya from the FAST party, Isobelle and Millie from the FUSE party and Matthew and Fin from the THOL party. 
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHYParty Leaders and their deputies pictured ahead of mock election at Sidegate Lane Primary School in Ipswich (L-R) Jasper and Samiya from the FAST party, Isobelle and Millie from the FUSE party and Matthew and Fin from the THOL party. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

Each of the three parties – FUSE (Fair, United, Sympathetic and Eco-friendly), FAST (Fun at School Today) and THOL (The House of Leopards) have developed actions they would implement around the school such as using the quiet area more, bringing pupils from the different year groups together for football games, and non-uniform days to raise money for new plant beds or football equipment.

Year five pupil Isobelle added: “It’s been everything I hoped it would be. We have more of an understanding of things.

“We don’t really have a say in what’s happening in the real world but we can have a say what goes on in the school.”


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