The following letter has been sent out today – 14 April 2016:
12 April 2016
It is with regret that I am writing to inform you of an exceptional school closure on Thursday 5th May 2016. This is because Kells Lane Primary School is required as a polling station. Under normal circumstances, we can avoid a school closure due to our external dining hall. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing structural difficulties, we are unable to designate this building for election purposes.
I understand that this will be frustrating for many of you and apologise for any inconvenience. I had hoped the situation would be resolved in time for the May elections, but have had to make a decision in order to give you enough notice to make alternative arrangements.
As you will know, when a returning officer selects a school to provide accommodation to be used for polling purposes, the use of the premises will not just be restricted to the room to be used for polling but will also include access to toilets and washroom facilities. Polling hours are from 7.00am to 10.00pm. In undertaking a risk assessment as to whether the school should be closed wholly or partially on the day of the election, I have had to consider the following:
• If the polling station can be isolated securely from the rest of the school preventing members of the public coming into contact with children
• The way that members of the public will gain access to the polling station, including voters with disabilities, e.g. will voters need to cross playgrounds or walk through the school to access the polling station
It is for these safeguarding reasons that I have had to make the decision to close the school to all pupils on Thursday 5th May.
Once again, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience.
Mrs A Whistler