Politics gets vote from Cumbrian school pupils

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Shankhill C of E Primary School near Longtown hold their own General Election.
Shankhill C of E Primary School near Longtown hold their own General Election.

Pupils who turned politicians at a school which held its own election have been reflecting on the results.

Youngsters at Shankhill Church of England School created their own parties and policies as part of a project focusing on British values.

And after a three-week campaign it was The Reserve Party that came out on top.

After only expecting a handful of votes each, the class of 18 children ended up receiving 517 votes in total when the ballot was opened up to other schools in the Brampton small schools cluster.

The Reserve Party earned themselves 213 votes, while Make A Change At School (MACAS) and Champions for Our School each got 152 votes.

Laura Taylor, 10, of The Reserve Party, said: "I feel really happy that our ideas were the most popular and that we convinced people to vote for us.

"I'm really surprised that we won as the other parties had brilliant ideas too.

"I have had a lot of fun doing this, as we were able to work hard with our teams and all the ideas were our own."

Izzy McCluskey, 11, another Reserve member, was proud to have won.

"We had worked really hard as a team thinking how we could make changes for people in and out of our school," she said.

Georgina Mallinson, 10, leader of the Champions for our School party was disappointed not to win.

"We came up with some good ideas," she said.

"I really like that my teachers are talking to us about what is happening in our country and that they want to listen to our ideas on these matters.

"I know so much more about politics now. I would like to do it again in the future so I could win."

Policies to improve their school and learning experience included getting a new school pet, encouraging healthy eating in school and for pupils to choose when they go out for break, provided they still get five hours of lesson time a day.

But as the campaign developed, so did their policies and the youngsters began to think about education, the NHS and elderly care.

Teacher John Neil was pleased with how well the class had taken to the project, which came about following a visit to London earlier this year.

"Promoting British Values is an important part of the current National Curriculum," he said.

"The children are very proud of their country and this election has helped them to further understand what it means to be British.

"Some of them are already coming up with ideas for the next project they want to undertake."

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