“Large number of school students cast their vote in favor of a Labour government”

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Thousands of School Pupils Cast Votes for Labour Government in 2024 General Election

London, UK – Over the course of the highly anticipated 2024 General Election, nearly 70,000 students from schools across the country exercised their right to vote. This was made possible through the Association of Citizenship Teaching’s (ACT) Parallel Election project, which ran for the first time this year, along with the Hansard Society’s Mock Election, a longstanding tradition that has been running for over 50 years. Both projects aim to engage students in Citizenship education, a subject included in the national curriculum.

The results of the student vote were overwhelmingly in favor of the Labour party, with 29.6% of the votes. The Green Party secured second place with 21.4%, followed by Reform UK in third with 18%. The Liberal Democrats came in fourth with 12.9%, while the Conservative party fell into fifth place with less than 10% of the vote. Independent candidates captured 5.4% of the vote, with the remaining votes being spoiled or left blank (3.7%).

In contrast, the overall voter turnout in the General Election was 60%, with evidence showing that young people are less likely to vote compared to older demographics. The Parallel Election and Mock Election projects provide students with a real-life experience of democracy in action, and aim to encourage greater political participation as they become adults.

Mark Marande, Headteacher at The Petersfield School, expressed his enthusiasm for engaging students with the General Election and politics in general, stating, “We want them to get ‘into the habit’ of voting, grappling with local, national, and global issues, and exercising their democratic rights.” He added, “I have been hugely impressed with how much enthusiasm the students have shown for grilling our local candidates and learning about the manifestos of the different parties. We have shared with them the importance of being active participants in their society, and I am very encouraged for the future led by them and their generation.”

Sam, a Year 10 student, emphasized the importance of young people getting involved in politics early on, stating, “It’s important that young people get involved in politics early so that when we are at an age where we can vote, we are well informed and educated about the different policies that can affect our lives.” She added, “Some young people may feel disillusioned by politics, however, it’s been refreshing to see how much our school community has engaged with the 2024 General Election.”

Eve, also a Year 10 student, shared her experience of meeting local candidates and questioning them about their party’s pledges, stating, “We have really enjoyed meeting the local candidates and putting them on the spot about their party’s pledges. It’s vital that we understand the different commitments being made by different political parties and the routes that our country could take. We are all eagerly anticipating the result of our school election and the General Election.”

Edward, another Year 10 student, emphasized the value of thinking about and discussing their views on important societal issues, stating, “Even though we can’t vote in the General Election this time, we’ve really valued the opportunity to think about and discuss our views on the issues that matter to us in our society. Exercising our democratic rights is a hugely important privilege that we shouldn’t take for granted, especially when there are still places in our world where people are denied this right.”

Liz Moorse, Chief Executive of the Association for Citizenship Teaching, highlighted the critical role of Citizenship education in preparing young people to be informed and active citizens, stating, “Our Parallel Election supported teachers with Citizenship resources and lessons to help students engage with the General Election, learn how democracy, voting, and elections work, and to understand why their participation is vital.” She added that students also learned “the art of respectful debate and influential argument, skills that are essential for a flourishing democracy.”

Dr. Ruth Fox, Director of the Hansard Society, shared their organization’s goal of improving the way Parliament works and enhancing public knowledge and understanding of the institution, stating, “One of the oldest civic education projects for schools anywhere in the world, the Hansard Society has run Mock Elections at every UK General Election for over 50 years.” This year, the Society offered a free download of all resources needed to run a mock election, with tens of thousands of pupils across Great Britain participating. “This gives many of them a first taste of civic participation and teaches them vital lessons about the way the UK’s democratic processes work,” Dr. Fox added.

Media Links:

Link to schools’ General Election results: https://www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/ACT-Hansard-School-Election-Results.pdf

Link to ACT’s Parallel Elections Project: https://www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/parallel-elections-project-2024

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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