Schools are gearing up for potential closures and disruption to festive events after MPs voted to hold a general election on Thursday 12 December. Many school buildings are used as polling stations, and an analysis carried out by Schools Week of the 2015 general election found that one in six schools had to close or partially close on polling day. Some schools will have had to close twice already this year, for both the local and european elections.
With this election taking place so close to Christmas there is also the prospect of festive events, such as Christmas fairs and nativity plays, having to be
rearranged or even cancelled. Village halls and community centres, which some schools use for performances and other events, also often serve as polling places so disruption could extend even to schools which aren’t being used for voting.
The election will also have other implications for some schools, as the pre-election ‘purdah’ period means some decisions that affect them will be postponed. The purdah period prevents the government from making announcements that could be considered ‘political’, so for example no academy orders will be approved, nor will decisions be announced about the movement of schools between academy trusts. Ofsted inspections of schools will still go ahead, though some other Ofsted activities, such as inspections of local authority children’s services, may be affected.
The upcoming general election will see a number of MPs standing down from parliament, and at the time of writing these include three former education secretaries: Ken Clarke, Justine Greening and Nicky Morgan. Greensheets will have further general election news throughout the campaign.