Use of school buildings as polling stations

During an election, your school may be asked to serve as a polling station. Your school staff will handle these arrangements, but you may want to learn about what the rules are and when your school should close.

Last reviewed on 18 December 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 5356
  1. Know your requirements
  2. Decide which room to use
  3. Decide whether to close your school
  4. What to do for polling day

Know your requirements

All state-funded schools can have their rooms used as polling stations, free of charge.

Schools are required to comply with requests for use from the returning officer of an election.

The returning officer is only required to reimburse the school for:

  • Any damage done to the premises
  • Any costs incurred as a result of the use of the premises for polling (e.g. lighting and heating)

This is set out in paragraph 22 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 and in planning and organisation guidance from the Electoral Commission.

Decide which room to use

It's ultimately for the returning officer to decide which school room will be used on polling days.

This was explained to