WITH the General Election only a few weeks ago, children at North Tawton Primary School have been learning about the democratic process with an important vote of their own.

As part of an ongoing process learning about democracy, the school council canvassed the views of pupils to determine what would improve their school the most.

Their results showed play equipment featured largely in their views. To ensure the children were able to get a real sense of democratic power, following a successful May Fair it was agreed that the school's parent and teacher association would provide £1,000 and the school would provide £500 towards the piece of play equipment that the children voted for as their preferred choice.

The council did further research to ensure the proposed items were within budget and they then selected six of these from a very long list, which ranged from a bouncy castle to a new swimming pool.

The children in Key Stage 2 were then asked to choose one of the items that they felt passionately about. They created posters, displays and canvassed the children in the weeks leading up to the election day on Friday May 22.

The 'parties' developed Powerpoint presentations and set about practising their speeches, which the candidates then delivered to an audience of children, parents and staff at the school.

Nick D'Agorne, North Tawton headteacher, said: 'I was extremely impressed with the standard of the presentations and the level of commitment of the children.

'The questions from the audience really challenged the "party candidates" and helped all children to decide what would be the best choice for the school.'

Following the presentations, all children took part in a secret ballot, placing their ballot papers in ballot boxes after recording their first choice on the ballot sheet with a cross. The children were all checked on the official register and no canvassing was allowed in the polling station to make the process feel as close to a General Election as possible. 

The final results were announced to a packed assembly of parents and children at the end of the day.

The children voted for a swinging basket ahead of a climbing wall, super slide, picnic bench, happy high jump and a new pool. The school will soon be buying a swinging basket to add to the outdoor learning equipment it already has in the all-weather play area.