Parents’ concern over schools used as polling stations

Seven schools arcross the Glenrothes area will be used as a polling  station on May 7.
Seven schools arcross the Glenrothes area will be used as a polling station on May 7.

Parents are calling for a rethink over plans to use some schools as polling stations while remaining open as part of a normal school day.

Organisers of an online petition say Fife Council’s decision has given rise to concerns for children’s safety as there will be no restrictions placed on voters with criminal backgrounds attending the school to vote.

...if schools are to be open as normal on polling day, parents and carers will be informed via a schoolbag drop letter

Linda Bissett, Fife Council’s head of democratic services

Additionally parents say early morning breakfast clubs will be forced to close on May 7, election day, and that there will be no hot meal facility with children instead given packed lunches to eat in their classrooms.

Around 30 school across Fife, including seven in Glenrothes, will have dual use as places to vote while remaining open.

Parents incensed by the move have taken to social media in a bid to get the local authority to overturn the decision.

However, Linda Bissett, the Council’s head of democratic services, has defended the move and highlighted the success of the dual system in recent by-elections.

“During by-elections in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, we trialled the dual use of schools resulting in certain parts of the schools being used for polling but all remaining parts of the schools being open to staff and pupils as normal,” she said.

She added: “Overall, the feedback was positive and so we have decided to extend the pilot to other schools, where viable, for the UK Parliamentary election in May.

“Some schools, for various reasons, will not be suitable for joint occupancy.

“However, if schools are to be open as normal on polling day, parents and carers will be informed via a schoolbag drop letter. Head teachers have also been briefed and will be happy to answer any questions parents and carers may have.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from head teachers who are keen to keep schools open and also from parents as closing schools can lead to child care difficulties.”

Parents react to news that schools are to be used as polling stations

Seven primary schools across the Glenrothes area are among the 33 in Fife that will have dual use on May 7 as voters go to the polls as part of the General Election.

They are: Rimbleton, Newcastle, South Parks, Southwood, Leslie, Collydean and Warout primary schools.

Parents have taken to social media including Facebook voicing concerns.

Nicola Haddow: “Some school layouts will still mean that the public and the children will be very close in proximity.”

Mary Mac: “What on earth is the point of having a secure-entry system if anyone will be able to walk into the school unchallenged on polling day?”

Cheryl Gourlay: “I think this is a silly idea keeping the children at school, it’s not safe for them.”

Izy Carruthers: “I think it is wrong and dangerous to have people going in and out of our schools that would never be there. There is security measures put in schools for a reason and these are not going to be adhered to on May 7.”