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Parallel vs. mock elections

GCSE • Active Citizenship • Pedagogy

Elections provide a key moment for teaching about the political system, voting and democracy. This resource on Parallel elections has been developed to help teachers plan and undertake a parallel election with their pupils.

The resource highlights the key electoral processes and suggests ways to organise lessons and other time such as breaks and lunchtimes to hold vote registration activities, campaigning and an election day in their school. The activities can be scaled and adjusted according to the curriculum time and resources available and offered as a class activity, whole year or whole school parallel election. The activities can be extended to include a school hustings with the local prospective party candidates which will be particularly relevant for those students eligible to vote for the first time.

The processes pupils follow align with real elections giving them an authentic experience of the electoral process from vote registration, analysis of party manifestos, candidate campaigns and policy positions through to the vote, election count and results analysis. Pupils work in teams on some of all of the activities and should engage with and analyse real election campaign materials, manifestos and political information.

Teachers may also wish to link this work with media literacy in Citizenship as pupils engage in fact-checking activities. Resources to support this are available on the educatege website.

At the end of the election day, schools are encouraged to compare their results with the real election results in local constituencies and nationally.

The activities provide scope for developing work in a range of curriculum subjects including citizenship, history, mathematics, English and geography.

Teachers should ensure pupils engage with a range of views from the main political parties. See the ACT briefing on impartiality and avoiding partisanship is also provided.