A parent has slammed a Sutton school and Sutton Council for closing the school on the day of the general election, causing “significant disruption” and showing a “lack of effort when planning”.

Muschamp Primary School and Language Opportunity Base, based in Muschamp Road, will be closing on July 4 so that the school can be used as a polling station.

The school educates children with speech and language disorder and other neurodiversities such as ASD and ADHD among others.

One parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The importance of having a regular routine to children and parents in these situations cannot be overstated.”

They went on to question why other venues were not considered as polling stations, or why the school did not decline the council’s request to use this school.

They added: “The short-sightedness in this planning process is unacceptable, and the lack of consideration for the impact on our children and their education is deeply troubling.

“The decision has caused significant disruption for parents and students, creating not only inconvenience but also further impact on our children's education. 

“Many parents are struggling to arrange alternative childcare at such short notice, having already planned their leave around the school’s schedule.

“Whilst some may consider a one day closure as a minor matter, many parents are still conscious of the impact COVID-19 has had on schools and children’s education.

“I have no issue with the actions taken to manage the pandemic, but there is no doubt amongst myself and many other parents that the school closures and disruptions have significantly affected children's learning and development.”

This parent argued that many students are still catching up both academically and socially after losing time in the classroom during the pandemic and that another day out of school will impact children’s education and wellbeing.

While they parent understands that publicly-funded schools can be used as polling stations, in this situation they feel that “organisation and communication in this case has fallen short”.

They slammed the “short notice and lack of alternative arrangements” which has “placed undue burden on our school community”.

Instead, they call for another publicly funded venue to be used instead, or for the school to tell the council no.

They said: “Surely there are other venues in the local authority's area that could be used without necessitating the closure of an entire school.

“With proper planning and effort from the organisers and the school, it seems feasible to be able to accommodate both the election and the school’s needs in a safe manner.”

A spokesperson for Sutton Council said: "Due to the Government's decision to call a general election at such short notice, many councils have struggled to find suitable polling stations and have had very little time to send notice to venues.

"Muschamp School has always been the polling station for this area, but due to the room usually used being turned into a soft play area, the polling station has now had to move into the main school building.

"In the London elections this May, the Council was able to use Carshalton Boys School Hall, opposite Muschamp, but there are exams taking place there next month, so it is not available. 

“The Council has looked at other possible locations in the area but there are none suitable.

"We know this is very disruptive and want to apologise to pupils, parents and staff.

“We try to avoid closing schools for elections as much as possible, but there is unfortunately no other suitable venue in the area for this election."

Your Local Guardian has contacted Muschamp Primary School and Language Opportunity Base for a comment.