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 19 December 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 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 page 25 (paragraph 5.10) of the planning and organisation guidance from the Electoral Commission (find the document under 'Part B').

Decide which room to use

However, the returning officer should discuss this with your school. While the returning officer is responsible for administering the polling, your school remains responsible for safeguarding and the health and