Schools will continue to be used as polling stations in Castle Point despite concerns around the the disruption caused on election days – especially for Year 6 children taking exams.

Angela Hutchings, returning officer for Castle Point, has said that wherever possible electors should continue to vote at their existing polling station so that disruption and any confusion about where to vote can be kept to a minimum.

The council had been urged to remove schools from the list of polling stations – one consultation response argued Year 6 children at Thundersley Primary School are especially disrupted.

Three responses had been received to a consultation into polling asking for schools not be to be included as polling stations.

One response said: “I am writing to ask that you reconsider the use of Thundersley Primary School as a polling station.

“Each year, our school, and particularly our Year 6 children, are disrupted due to a classroom being used all day for the elections. We have strangers on site all day which means that we need to have extra supervision in our playground as this is near the polling station.

“In addition to this, because it is the Year 6 classroom which is used, our Year 6 children who have their SATs tests in the following weeks are the ones disrupted the most.”

But the council has said boundary changes are a significant change enough for voters.

Ms Hutchings said: “Decisions about polling locations are based on law and guidance relating to the conduct of elections but also geography and availability of suitable buildings.

“Our members will be aware that I’m especially committed to not using schools whenever an alternative can be found and I remain committed to that principle.

“But because of the amount of change that has already taken place this time around I am concerned that changes from school premises which were well known and locked into voter memory would lead to a greater risk of disenfranchisement.

“So I take the view I have to do everything I can to mitigate that risk and it’s for that reason that I have not made as many changes away from the use of schools as I might otherwise have done.”