PARENTS are petitioning to stop schools closing for elections.

The 350-name petition was presented to Brighton and Hove city councillors by Arthur Gallagher, vice chairman of governors at Cottesmore St Mary Primary in Hove.

He said thousands of children missed school as a result of election day closing yet parents keeping a child off school faced a fine.

He told the policy, resources and growth committee: “When schools are used as polling stations, the majority have to be shut to ensure the safeguarding of pupils.

“This puts additional pressure on working parents, who struggle to cover the number of school holidays as it is.

“Parents should not have to pay for childcare or use up annual leave to cover the council using their child’s school as a polling station. Using schools as polling stations also impacts our children’s education.”

Two elections have already taken place this year – the council elections and the European Parliament elections – and there is the possibility of a general election.

He said: “If parents take their children out of school, they are charged £60 per parent. Yet parents receive no additional help to cover childcare costs when the school is closed for elections. Why is it one rule for the council and another for hard-working parents?”

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “A full review of polling stations will take place before January.

“It would be unwise to completely rule out using schools as polling places but we will always look to find an alternative.”