It’s been 12 months of uncertainty and closures for schools since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and one of our area’s schools will be again closed next week – but this time it’s for the local elections.

County council, town, parish and police and crime commissioner elections are taking place on May 6.

And Beaufront First School in Hexham is being used as a polling station and will be closed on the day.

In February, schools minister Nick Gibb sent headteachers a letter stating the Government supported avoiding the use of schools as polling sites “where it is practically possible to do so”.

The letter said: “This year all children have missed vital time at school and the Government is committed to minimising any further disruption to pupils’ education … we are clear that where schools would be required to close, returning officers should look to other available venues first.”

Where there are no alternative premises, schools and returning officers should “work together to minimise any disruption and keep the school open where that is possible”.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “Thankfully for the forthcoming scheduled polls on May 6, we have had to use very few schools as polling stations in Northumberland, but we are required to provide polling stations that are accessible and convenient for voters across the county.

“Only seven of over 300 schools in Northumberland are being used as polling stations at these elections. Just two will be closed, Beaufront First school in Hexham and Berwick Engage School – both of which have chosen to allocate polling day as a designated teacher training day.

“Whether a school closes completely for the poll is ultimately the decision of the school and in most circumstances it is possible to find arrangements which enable schools to remain open whilst being used as a polling station if this is agreeable to the school.”

You can only vote at the polling station printed on the back of your poll card – if in doubt check your council’s website.


Kirkwhelpington Memorial Hall

Bellingham Town Hall

The Gun Inn, Ridsdale

Corsenside Parish Hall

Matthew Ridley Memorial Hall, Falstone

Kielder Primary School

Otterburn Memorial Hall

Byrness Village Hall

Rochester Village Hall

Tarset Village Hall

Newton & Bywell Community Hall

Horsley Village & WI Hall

Ovingham Reading Room

Ovingham Social Club

Wylam Methodist Church

Corbridge Parish Hall

Beaufront First School, Hexham

Lambley Village Hall

Featherstone Village Hall

Haltwhistle Methodist Church Hall

Knarsdale with Kirkhaugh Cairns Community Hall

Whitfield Parish Hall

Bardon Mill Village Hall

Greenhead Village Hall

Haydon Bridge Community Centre

Langley Village Hall

Melkridge The Farmhouse

Gilsland Village Hall

Acomb Village Hall

Hexham Community Centre

Hencotes St Aidan’s Church Hall

Hexham Trinity Methodist Church Hall

Hexham Torch Centre

Hexham West End Methodist Church Hall

Birtley Village Hall

Barrasford Village Hall

Colwell Village Hall

Humshaugh Village Hall

Newbrough Town Hall

Simonburn Village Hall

Wall Village Hall

Stonehaugh Village Hall

Wark Town Hall

Ponteland Schools & Leisure Centre

Whalton Village Hall

Belsay Estates Office

Capheaton Village Hall

Ponteland St Mary’s Church Hall

Heddon Village Knott Memorial Hall

Ponteland United Reformed Church

Stamfordham Village Hall

Great Whittington Village Hall

Prudhoe Castle First School

The Gate Church, Prudhoe

Prudhoe Waterworld

St Mary Magdalene Church Hall, Prudhoe

Allendale Village Hall

Allenheads Heritage Site

Catton Village Hall

Sinderhope High Forest Community Centre

Blanchland Village Hall

Slaley Commemoration Hall

Whittonstall The Anchor Inn

Whitley Chapel Village Hall

Shotley St John’s Hall

Ninebanks Church Hall

Riding Mill Parish Hall

Stocksfield Community Association

Stocksfield Baptist Church Hall

Mickley and District Social Club