Parents’ anger at decision to use Northampton primary school as polling station forcing two-day closure

Barry Primary School is to be used as a polling station
Barry Primary School is to be used as a polling station

Parents’ have expressed their anger at the fact a Northampton primary school is being closed for two days as it is being used as a polling station.

Barry Primary School will be closed to all pupils apart from year six on May 5 as it will used by voters in the police and crime commissioner elections.

The school is also set to close on June 23 as it is being used by voters in the European election.

Headteacher Anne Smith has told parents she is shutting the school on both days due to safeguarding issues. The building will only be open to year six pupils who are taking their SATS exams.

Mrs Smith said: “As a school we are very tight on having clearance for everyone who is in the building so we can’t have the school open when unknown member sof the public are on site.”

Sally Tattersfield, who has three children at the school, said she was angry that she would be left with a childcare bill of £150 due to the school being closed for two days.

She said: “This has been sprung upon us and a lot of parents are not particularly happy

Parents are not allowed to take their children out of school during term time but the school is being closed for two days.

“It seems wrong, particularly for the police and crime commissioner election when hardly anyone turned up to vote.”

David Kennedy, local returning officer for Northampton, said the school was being used as a polling station because there were concerns about the “street lighting, access and parking” and the Barry Road Professional development Centre (PDC), which was previously used by voters.

He said: “As part of a review of polling stations last year, we received representations about the adequacy of the previous polling station site off Barry Road. There were a number of issues with lighting, access and parking. We are legally required to ensure that all voters are given the opportunity to access their place to vote as easily as possible, particularly for people with mobility issues. The new polling station better meets the statutory requirements to help to allow everyone the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

“We do try to avoid using schools as polling stations as much as we can but unfortunately this is not always possible. We also try to work with schools when we have to designate them as polling places. However it is not always possible for the schools to stay open and they may find it necessary to decide to close.”