On 7 May Scarborough College took to the polls in our very own election. The aim was to discover whether the opinions of 11-18 year old students would reflect the opinions of British Society in general. Also, the school wanted to further encourage student interest in political issues which directly affect them.
The College tried to keep the conditions of our Election the same as the General Election. However, one aspect the College was very keen to alter was the fact that not only students of British origin were allowed to vote. In our poll the whole College community was allowed to vote, regardless of their nationality. This was in an attempt to not just raise the profile of politics in this country but also in the countries from which our international students originate.
Enthusiasm for the chance to vote varied between the school years. Surprisingly, it was the Year 7 and 8 pupil's who expressed the most enthusiasm for their chance to vote, whereas the Year 10 and 11 pupils weren’t quite as eager, possibly as many of them were disappointed that they didn’t have the option to vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party! However, in their defence, the political manifestos and policies of the parties may not be on the top of the list of the Year 11 priorities with their GCSE exams just around the corner.
There were some interesting results. There was clear support for the Conservative Party, which achieved a landslide victory, gaining 61% of the students votes. UKIP came an unexpected second, achieving 17% of the total votes. However, with suspicion of a collaboration to rig votes, these results may not reflect the genuine views of the school. 7% of the College population decided to utilise their option of a' no vote', and the remainder of the votes were split with the Green Party gaining 6%, and the Liberal Democrats and Labour gaining 4.7% of the votes each.
Some of these results were somewhat unexpected, and yet gave us an interesting insight into the opinions of our student population. Taking into account the fact that we are an independent, fee-paying school, it is perhaps unsurprising that there was strong support for the right wing parties. However, the fact that UKIP gained such a large proportion of the votes is significant, especially when we bear in mind that we are an international school, which prides itself on embracing both students and teachers from other nationalities and cultures, and welcoming them into our community. While there may have been rumours of a plot to simply vote for a certain right wing party as a bit of a joke, it is important to recognise the significance that our results would have for the valued members of our community who come to us from all around the world, had our poll truly reflected the results of the General Election.
By Jonty Gillingham and Silvia Kehrli L6