Postcards for schoolchildren

Every schoolchild in the east of Norfolk, including Great Yarmouth, will receive a postcard next week with a familiar “Wish You Were Here” greeting on the front.

Every schoolchild in the east of Norfolk, including Great Yarmouth, will receive a postcard next week with a familiar “Wish You Were Here” greeting on the front.

But the cards are not depicting the usual sunny scenes from foreign holiday resorts - instead they show pictures of children enjoying their time in school.

The cards are being sent by Norfolk County Council as it steps up its campaign to encourage parents not to take their children out of school for holidays, saying that even missing one or two weeks at school could have a detrimental impact on a child's education.

The postcard is being launched to coincide with the council's second Attendance Week in the Yarmouth area from Monday to Friday next week.

Attendance is below 80pc for more than 1,000 pupils in this area meaning they are missing the equivalent of one day a week of school and a fifth of their schools lives.

To try to address the issue Norfolk County Council has been stepping up its work around attendance in the east of the county, with an increasing number of prosecutions, warning letters and attendance and truancy sweeps.

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Gill Buckley, inclusion and behaviour partnership manager for Norfolk County Council, said many families started to think about booking holidays in wintery evenings.

“We would urge them to think very carefully about what their child is missing out on,” she said. “Every single lesson is important in a child's education and missing one or two weeks at school could put them behind their classmates.

“Parents need to know that they do not have an automatic right to take their children on holiday during term time and schools will only give permission in exceptional circumstances.

“Any unauthorised absence is recorded and parents need to know they have a legal duty to ensure their child is attending school.”

The back of the postcard has information for parents about school attendance and holidays and throughout next week the county council will be working with Norfolk police to target those children not attending school.

Police and attendance officers will attend schools at registration to see which children have failed to turn up and who are marked as unauthorised absentees.

They will then visit the homes of these young people and speak to their parents about their legal responsibilities.

Schoolchildren will also be designing posters on attendance and what young people miss out on when they are not at school.

The winning posters will be displayed at schools across east Norfolk.

Rosalie Monbiot, council cabinet member for children's services,

said reducing absence was a


“It is linked with our ambition to create aspirational young people with high levels of achievement,” she said.

“Children and their parents need to recognise the importance of education and realise that they can achieve success if they engage in learning.

“It is not only academic work that children miss out on but the social aspects of school life, which can affect children's ability to make and keep friendships.

“Parents who have children registered at school have a legal

duty to make sure they attend and we would urge them to support both

the county council and Norfolk's schools in promoting the value of education.”