Students urged to use their right to vote

RIPON Grammar School teenagers are being urged to use their right to vote as the general election looms.

Just 16% of 16-17-year-olds and 60% of 18-year-olds are registered to vote across Great Britain, compared with 94% of 55-64-year-olds and 96% of over 65-year-olds.

RGS contacted all 395 students aged 16 or over to take part in a Voter Registration Day, organised by the VotesForSchools and iVote charities.

The charities' free resource pack includes a 30-minute presentation explaining why and how to register, along with explanatory handouts and a video featuring young people and politicians.

Lower sixth form student Theo Kendrick, 17, from Ripon, said: "I feel it is important for us to be politically engaged, even if we aren’t old enough to vote yet. We have to get involved as it is important we do what we can to control our future as much as we can, and voting is a small step towards this."

Upper sixth former Polina Whitehead, a boarding student from the Lake District, who registered once she turned 18, said: “I’m already set to vote. But it’s a really good idea for school to help students, as many wouldn’t know how to approach this.”

Deputy head of sixth form, Lee Lyons, who organised the day, said: “We believe it is so important that young people use their right to vote.”

Colleague Helen Nelson added that it was key for younger students to engage too: “For those aged 16, it ensures that when they are 18 they are already registered and it creates a sense of responsibility."

*The deadline to register to vote in the general election of July 4 is 23.59 on Tuesday, June 18.

*Register to vote here: Register to vote - GOV.UK (