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Thurston Community College near Bury St Edmunds holds election for new Student Principals on General Election day





Students at Thurston Community College, near Bury St Edmunds, took to the polls to elect their new Student Principals on July 4.

With the timing of their Student Leadership Election falling in line with the country’s General Election, the school felt the opportunity to create an immersive election experience for students was too good to miss.

In the run up to the election, all students received lessons on democracy and the power of having your voice heard. In their Life Skills lessons students learned about the voting process and the intricacies involved.

The school said these lessons not only taught students about the principles of democracy but also gave them a valuable opportunity to practise these concepts in a real-world setting.

Supporting this, the Student News Team, made up of students in Years 8 to 10, put on three major live TV-style broadcasts across the college, including a live debate and live reveal after the polls had taken place. Student reporters were live on camera in the ‘studio’ and remote locations across the college.

Behind the scenes, ‘talented’ students were responsible for operating cameras as well as ‘vision mixing’ each programme in a pioneering effort. All of these broadcasts can be found here.

The Thurston Community College debate broadcast team. Picture: Thurston Community College
The Thurston Community College debate broadcast team. Picture: Thurston Community College
Live in the 'studio'. Picture: Thurston Community College
Live in the 'studio'. Picture: Thurston Community College
Debate rehearsals. Picture: Thurston Community College
Debate rehearsals. Picture: Thurston Community College

For two weeks, the four candidates campaigned across the college in order to win the votes of their peers. They presented assemblies, created a poster campaign, held pop-up surgeries and drop ins. They also took part in a live debate, hosted by a politics student from Thurston Sixth and broadcast live across the college to all students and staff.

On election day itself, students visited the school’s polling station, where they had to present ID cards and were given ballot papers to vote for their preferred candidates.

Just as in the real election, students posted their votes into a sealed ballot box, which was transported to Thurston Sixth for the count.

The Thurston Community College Student News Team. Picture: Thurston Community College
The Thurston Community College Student News Team. Picture: Thurston Community College
Recording a piece to camera. Picture: Thurston Community College
Recording a piece to camera. Picture: Thurston Community College
Candidates with debate host. Picture: Thurston Community College
Candidates with debate host. Picture: Thurston Community College

“The atmosphere in the college has been incredible,” said one student. “The live shows were brilliant and voting in a real polling station really brought the experience to life. When I get to vote in the future, I will know what to do and it won’t feel daunting.”

College Principal Maéve Taylor said: “At the end of a phenomenal few weeks of campaigning, debating and voting, I would like to give my thanks and congratulations to everyone involved. Remember that in the future your vote will always have the potential to change the world.”