Westbourne students deliver Labour majority in school’s own election

Westbourne Academy election candidates and Principal Garry Trott with the ballot boxes. Picture: Wes

Westbourne Academy election candidates and Principal Garry Trott with the ballot boxes. Picture: Westbourne Academy. - Credit: Archant

While the rest of the country were going to the polls last Thursday, students from Westbourne Academy in Ipswich were having their own election – with a very different result.

They overwhelmingly backed Labour – which won 54% of the vote – after its own election across the school.

Westbourne Academy held its own mock election including students nominating themselves to stand as candidates, a”‘Question Time” style hustings and the whole school going to the polls on June 8.

Initiated and organised by Heads of House Carmen Blanch and Dan Payne, students from Westbourne Academy were invited to put themselves forward to stand as representatives of each of the major parties.

Mr Payne said: “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.”

A lively debate followed about how the various parties intended to finance their ideas. Each of the party candidates had a chance to have their say.

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Chris Earley, one of the Labour representatives said: “It has been so interesting, researching the policies and preparing our speeches. I enjoyed the hustings debate the most though.”

Students voted on election day and Academy principal Garry Trott acted as returning officer, announcing the results to a packed assembly hall on Friday afternoon – with Labour

Mr Trott 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.”

Mr Payne said it became very apparent that the students of Westbourne Academy cared about what is happening in the country on a political level and were very much looking forward to having their say when they become eligible to vote.