Joshua Levenson, Executive Headteacher, London

Joshua Levenson is an Executive Headteacher who works across two schools in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Lewisham. He is passionate about developing young minds and global citizens, who have a thirst for knowledge.

What started as a summer holiday whole-school project has kept going and going and going!

After seeing the idea at another school, we thought that launching our own hand-written postcard project would be a great way to raise geographical awareness and provide a perfect opportunity to write for an audience. We also saw it as a chance to continue to increase engagement with our community, so we made sure that not only current pupils were included in the project, but also incoming pupils from our new EYFS cohort.

Mindful that we didn’t want it to turn into a ‘Who had the best holiday?’ competition, we made it clear that even if pupils weren’t leaving the city, or even if they were only going an hour away on the train, then they could get involved.

We made use of our secondary school work experience student (who put up the world map in the main hall), everybody received their very own postcard providing an overview of what we were looking for and we launched the initiative in our final assembly of the year. All that was left to do was wait and hope there wouldn’t be a postal strike in August!

When I popped into school over the summer break, there was already a stack of postcards waiting for me, but when we came back officially in September, there were hundreds of postcards waiting to be read. Many more trickled in over the course of the first month back and not just from pupils, but also staff at our school, staff at other schools who had heard about the project, as well as other family members who wanted to get involved.

The postcards came from all corners of the globe. The family home of one of our team is so picturesque that it appears on one of the postcards! We also had a few magnets and keyrings too.

To help with the geographical awareness aspect, pupils used atlases to display the postcards on the wall map and all classes went to visit the project to see their submissions, as well as those of other peers.

If it had stopped there, we definitely would have achieved our objectives of having an engagement project, developing global awareness and writing for a purpose (as well as keeping the art of writing a postcard alive).

However, it has been more than just that. Children have continued to send in postcards, it has been a real focal point at the school, pupils are proud of the display and ensure it is added to and kept tidy!

It has been a great talking point on school tours and I’ve loved reading about our pupils’ adventures. It’s been clear that families have really supported our project and have seen the importance of finding opportunities to get pupils writing, when they are not at school.

We should probably find an innovative way to tweak the project and make it fresh for this year’s summer holiday, but in all honesty, it has been such a success, we could probably just have a relaunch and start it all off again this summer without changing anything (apart from the year)!