Political parties vying for votes to change school life

Fri, 16 Jun 2017

From wearing more pink, to combating eating disorders and saving the planet, a budding group of political parties is campaigning for a brighter future for their schoolmates.

Girls in Year 5 at Inglefield House decided to establish their own parties following one 40-minute lesson about the general election and how Parliament works.

They have each written manifestos, designed logos and posters, given speeches in assembly and considered how they would implement their policies if elected.

Hilary Phillips, Headmistress of Inglefield House, said: “The whole idea was to show the girls how the government works on a scale they can recognise and they’ve started to realise they can change things. It’s given some people a chance to find a voice and they’ve learned not to believe the first thing that comes out of their own mouths.”

Girls were placed in groups based on their beliefs following a questionnaire to discover which issues were most important to each of them.

Each pupil at Inglefield will vote in an election on June 28th to appoint the winning group.

Mrs Phillips added: “One party of five realised they couldn’t come to an agreement on certain things and they thought it was better to have a break-away party.

“It’s really great there was a general election – the reaction from the girls has been amazing. We’re going to have a polling station with a booth and display boards.

“The plan is to build on this. The party which wins can sit down with school management and start to push their ideas so they become part of school life. These pupils will be able to follow this up in Year 6 in September and see how different political parties have to work together.”

One party, NRG, whose slogan is ‘Vote for a better, healthy life’, has spent hours mixing homemade smoothies to give away in the playground to promote their message. Zoe, 10, is one of the 11 sporty NRG members.

She said: “We wanted to make the school healthier. The smoothies are just as nice as chocolate and they are a real hit – especially the Mango Madness. People were queuing up for our smoothies and shouting ‘NRG’ before we’d even made it to the playground. It makes the party feel much more confident. Any money we raise in donations for the smoothies goes to the British Heart Foundation.”

Fellow NRG member, Daisy, 10, said: “We’ve only had one argument so far, because the party was too big. So we split it into NRGetics and NRLicious – one group comes up with ideas for daily exercise routines and the other with healthy treats. If we win we hope to introduce them to school lunches.”

Meanwhile, the Casual Party is campaigning for the chance to wear pink outfits and jewellery on Fridays, alongside the slogan ‘It’s your time to shine’. ‘Live life with happiness and more animals’ is the joyful tagline of the Community, Social Skills and Animals party.

And the Environment Party is desperate to save the planet. Elizabeth and Carys, both 10, are the party’s only members.

Elizabeth said: “We want to stop pollution and littering to help the environment. We really need to care about the world. Campaigning is really exciting – I’d be interested in going into politics one day.”

Carys added: “We also want to stop animals from becoming extinct before young children get to see them. We want to save the elephants whose tusks are being taken and their feet are being turned into dustbins. Lots of people are worried about so many different things and not everyone takes time to care about animals.”

With nine parties vying for votes, it is difficult to predict what the political landscape will look like at Inglefield House next year.

The winners will be announced during Speech Day on June 30th.