Letter: Why the voting age should be 16 for matters affecting pupils’ futures

28 June 2016
Posted by Heidi Salmons

The Times, 28.06.16, HMC Vice Chair Richard Harman, headmaster of leading independent Uppingham School on why he thinks the voting age should be 16.

Sir, One of the most challenging things about leading a school last Friday was dealing with such a strong sense of bewilderment among the young — some felt their future had been blighted by us older voters.

I used to be against 16-year-olds having the vote, but last week has changed my mind in the case of a referendum. In a general election 18 is fine because you have the power to influence a new result just a few years later. If we ever have another vote with such seismic consequences for future generations, the voting age should be 16 and schools should have an explicit role in giving impartial information about both sides of the debate.

Richard Harman
Headmaster, Uppingham School, and vice-chairman, Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference

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