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updated on 7 January 2022
Ref: 5356
School types: All · School phases: All

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.

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 legislation and page 25 (paragraph 5.10) of 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.

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 health and safety of pupils and staff.


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