Anger as Seaford school closes TWICE this month to act as polling station

The entrance to the school
The entrance to the school

An angry mum has complained about the closure of a primary school TWICE this month so it can serve as a polling station.

Seaford’s Cradle Hill Primary School was closed today (Thursday, May 2) for the district and parish council elections and will be closed again on May 23 for the European Union elections.

Stephanie Georgalakis, who has an eight-year-old daughter at the school, said this amounted to 13 hours of missed education in a month which also has two Bank Holidays.

She said: “Thirteen hours of ‘forced’ missed education in one year is not acceptable.

“The knock-on effect is huge, especially with SATs coming up. Children with special needs lose precious time, there are those who rely on school dinners each day as their only hot meal and it places an extra financial burden on parents and carers.

There are plenty of community buildings in the ward that could be utilised for this purpose , for instance Seaford Community Church and Seaford Children’s Centre.

Mrs Georgalakis, of Rosedean Close, Seaford, who has set up a protest petition, continued: “There is no need to use schools as polling stations anymore. Historically, it was because there was a school in every community and they complied with public health and safety rules, but nowadays there are plenty of community buildings around that have to be health and safety compliant – and some of those are vacant!”

She has complained to Lewes District Council, pointing out that a parent who takes a child out of school for a day faces a fine.

She queried whether the council would be compensating all involved for the missed hours – and warned she would be sending it an invoice at the end of the month.

A district council spokesman said: “The decision to close the entire school estate on polling day rests with the school, not the council.

“The council will be utilising specific areas within the school. The use of school facilities for elections is covered by Gvernment legislation.

“We have 44 venues across the district that will act as polling stations, only five are schools.”