A primary school has withdrawn its availability as a polling station because of ‘serious concerns’ over pupil safety.
School bosses from Peel Park School in Accrington blamed past incidents of adults ‘wandering into school’ from the polling station as well as moving playground barriers for the decision.
The school, on Alice Street, was critcised at a town hall meeting for withdrawing its availability for election polling.
Speaking at a meeting of Hyndburn’s full council, Huncoat councillor Dave Parkins launched an
attack on the decision.
He said: “I would just like to say that I am more than disappointed in Peel Park school. There were a lot of people from the area that used to vote when they picked their kids up.
“It is now going to be a good hard struggle for them. I would have thought the school would have come to the council to explain themselves. I am very disappointed in the head of Peel Park school.”
A replacement mobile station will now be erected around a quarter of a mile away from the school at Taskers on Queens Road for future elections.
Speaking after the meeting, the school’s headteacher Judith Williams defended the decision and said the school had offered an alternative, including a mobile polling station on the car park.
She said: “We have always tried hard to accommodate the needs of the council over many years in acting as a polling station. The governors of our large school have serious concerns about safeguarding and keeping the children safe, as there have been instances of adults wandering into school from the polling section and moving the barriers in the Year 5/6 yard.
“Members of the public have also struggled and complained due to lack of disabled access and tried to use the ramped main entrance. There is also disruption to staff and lessons as they cannot deliver their normal curriculum timetable including use of alternative entrance/exit points on that day.
“To close the school on polling day would significantly inconvenience parents and further disrupt the children’s education.”
The move came after Hyndburn council was required to review its polling districts by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013. Polling stations remained unchanged in most areas.