PARENTS

Tip Of The Day: Check If Your Child's School Is Closed For The Election

20/04/2010 22:25 | Updated 22 May 2015

Even if you're sick to death of cheesy politicians grinning at you from every billboard, TV screen and leaflet, at least they've got the message across that there's an election coming up on 6th May.

This time round, the political parties have been showcasing their family friendly policies, as the "mum vote" is predicted to be an important factor.

But there's another way in which the election will affect parents. Just when you'd got over that achingly long Easter holiday, another day off is on its way, as many schools will close on 6 May in order to act as polling stations.

This is an easy detail to miss, especially if your child is in their first year of school. So check now whether your child's school is due to be used as a polling station, and will be closed as a result. If it is, then think about what form of childcare you'll need to work around this.

Currently, returning officers are allowed to use schools as venues for polling stations. If the school has an area which can be used for voting which is isolated from the rest of the school and has its own separate entrance, then the rest of the school can stay open as normal. If a separate area is not available, then the school must close on the day of the poll. In other words, just because a school is being used as a polling station doesn't necessarily mean that it will have to close.

Schools which are forced to close because they're being used as polling stations can move elsewhere if possible, or a training day for teachers could be held on the day of the poll.

Whatever the case, it's probably better to know now either way, rather than find yourself panicking on 5th May because you're due in to work the next day but you've got no childcare.

If you have pre-school children then obviously this is less of an issue. The voting process is so quick that you don't even need childcare. I always took my pre-schoolers in with me to vote, in the hope that they'd find it interesting. Now that they're of school age I think they'd find an extra day off to be much more fun.

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