Stephen Lambert, Director of Education4Democracy.

ON the day the Prime Minister called a general election last month 350,000 people registered to vote on line. Yet it's estimated that up to 9 million people across the UK are still 'missing' from the official electoral register.

In the North East a staggering 239,000 aren't registered to vote including young people, students, minorities, the homeless, adults with learning, mental or physical disabilities, private renters and low-income households.

Unless drastic action is taken the figure could be much higher, which would be harmful to our representative democracy.

It's suggested by the independent Electoral Commission that thousands have simply vanished from the electoral register, partly due to ill-thought out an rushed government reforms making it compulsory for individual to register.

The current system has the potential to disenfranchise the student population of Tyneside, Wearside and Durham. For some experts, the most troubling trend is the drop by up to 40 per cent in the number of "attainers" - teenagers at college or sixth form who are meant to join the register prior to voting age. According to Rachel Farringdon of the campaign group, Voting Counts, a generation is in danger of missing its first taste of democratic participation, and perhaps never acquiring the habit of voting.

This December's general election could have a major influence on your adults aged 18 to 24. The outcome could impact on Brexit, job prospects, climate change, pay, rents, university fees and crucially finding somewhere affordable to live.

Council officials across the region's town halls are doing their best to get the missing thousands to register.

Newcastle Council is undertaking a broad range of measures to encourage "voter registration" including:

  • The link to the Government's Register to Vote website is now a the top of the homepage of the authority's website;
  • Contact has been made to all overseas voters twice to remind them to retain their voter registration details up to date and to offer them a 'proxy vote';
  • An ongoing social media campaign via Facebook and Twitter focusing on student registration;
  • Conducting a mapping exercise across the council and partners like YHN to identity where there's contact with residents and bring in steps to encourage and automate voter registration;
  • Holding a  workshop for councillors in the coming fortnight to get new ideas about encouraging voter registration.

In the long-term more needs to be done to maintain our democratic way of life and ensure that our "political culture" is durable. Sheffield University has been successful by integrating voter registration into the enrolment process and during 'freshers' week. More Vice-Chancellors and further education college Principals should adopt this model.

Other measures central government could embrace to boost electoral registration include a statutory duty on school sixth forms and colleges to provide details of young people approaching 17 or 18 to all council registration officers.

Local politicians from all the main parties should be to encourage to engage and empower groups of post-16 learners in the next two weeks about the nature, value and significance of voting. Both the city's Sheriff Habib Rhaman and myself have addressed many young people over the past two years on this very theme - done in an impartial and interactive way. It works. Young people are interested. They participate. Ask questions. And they learn too.

Higher Education institutions could be advised to register blocks of students in halls of residence. Pilot election-day registrations could form part of school citizenship or British Values sessions.

Young people and other marginalised groups such as adults with learning disabilities, those with mental health issues and migrants with citizenship status shouldn't be denied  a say in the forthcoming first order general election which will determine their future.

That's why youth clubs, schools, colleges, youth movements like the Scouts and guides, need to work in partnership with local councils and central government to register the ''missing millions''. Above all national government needs to lead  bold and innovative recruitment drive to fill the electoral register. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the younger generation.

Stephen Lambert, Executive director, Education4Democracy CIC.

Copyright © 2019 FE News

Stephen Lambert Newsroom Strap

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 2 hours 45 minutes ago

Edge Future Learning - Making education relevant...

Building on our work with Edge Future Learning Leaders and Partners around the world, our model includes three key principles that help bring...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page