Students advised to make their minds up and vote

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Year 13 students at the Brooksbank School, Elland, were urged to make their voice heard in the upcoming General Election.

They heard from Ian Gledhill, Calderdale Council’s electoral outreach officer, who talked to them about the election process and stressed the importance of registering to vote.

Ian Gledhill, Calderdale Council's Electoral Outreach Officer, with Brooksbank School students.

Ian Gledhill, Calderdale Council's Electoral Outreach Officer, with Brooksbank School students.

Mr Gledhill has delivered talks across Calderdale in the run up to the election and revealed that in the 2010 General Election, 65 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds were registered to vote, but only 44 per cent of those registered made their mark on a ballot paper.

Mr Gledhill said: “It’s about getting young people to register and giving people the opportunity to make their minds up for themselves about who they are going to vote for. The pupils here seem to be registered for the most part, but it’s really important to try and get as many people as possible onto the register and use their vote.

“Who has a right to run the country with only 35 per cent voting for them? The more people who vote, the better it’s going to be for everyone.”

Pupil Luanne Thornton, 18, from Greetland, said she was concerned about the NHS and tuition fees.

Joshua Hartley, 18, from West Vale, added; “I don’t want to change policies to suit me. I think it’s important to get voices heard. It should be for the whole country.”

David Puddephatt, director of post 16 education at the school, was delighted to see that so many of his students had registered to vote.

“I think it’s great we have had input about the importance of registering to vote from the council. I was delighted to see how many of our students in Year 13 were registered to vote, but was shocked that only five per cent knew who they were going to vote for. I think there’s a real opportunity for candidates to get into schools and win votes.”