Young People and Politics – Organising a Mock Election In Your School
Oracy is an important skill precisely because it helps us to engage with, question, critique and respond to complex ideas about all walks of life. Poltiics can often feel the realm of the elite, limited to a small group of people who all went to the same schools and the same universities. The more students develop their oracy skills, the more confident they feel in engaging in political debates and making sure that their voices and opinions are heard.
Young people are consistently under-represented at the ballot box. In the 2016 EU referendum, 64% of young people who registered voted, compared to 90% of those aged 65 and over.*
For the third time in two years, the whole of the UK is heading to the ballot boxes for a national vote. Why not encourage your school to host its own election?
A mock election helps make politics real, involving students in the entire political process, and allowing them to develop and express their own political views.
Mock elections also provide plentiful opportunities for fantastic oracy practise!
You need to select your candidates. Perhaps prefects or members of your sixth form? We’d recommend not allowing them to select the party that they represent – its more fun if its random
Posters or flyers? Assemblies? Presenting in form groups? The possibilities are endless and this is a great opportunity for students to learn about marketing and publicity. Design and art whizzes could help with posters too
The election. We’d recommend making every form group a ‘constituency’ – you might want to have a teachers ‘constituency’ too. Will it be first past the post or proportional representation? Physical ballots or electronic voting?
Is there time to organise a hustings after school? This would be a great opportunity for your students to showcase their skills and for the rest of the school to grill the candidates. Photography students could photograph the event and budding journalists could write a report
Will the elected officials have any responsibilities? Could this link up to school council elections?
Why not invite your local political parties along? Even if the parliamentary candidates can’t attend, they might be able to send a representative along.
Why not host your election on June 8th? This would raise awareness about the general election and make your mock election seem a bit more ‘real’!
If you have a sixth form, make sure you also emphasise to your students how important it is that they register to vote