‘Get a Grip’ petition to be debated

Opposition to Get A Grip campaign, Seaford SUS-170911-084406008

A petition signed by more than 10,000 people which labelled a campaign to improve school attendance in East Sussex ‘insulting and condescending’ is set to be debated.

Slogans such as ‘Don’t Be a Mug’ and ‘Get a Grip’ are being featured on bus stops, social media and radio adverts as part of a drive to ensure children turn up to school every day.

But a petition started by Seaford mum-of-two Ella Lewis, 37, called for East Sussex County Council to withdraw the campaign and apologise, describing it as ‘aggressive, condescending, insulting, inappropriate for the purpose and will probably prove to be counterproductive’,

As it has received more than 5,000 signatures the petition will be debated by county councillors on Tuesday (December 5).

Last month East Sussex County Council defended the campaign as it addresses an ‘extremely serious issue’, with school attendance levels in the county ‘simply not good enough’.

A spokesman for the authority described how the campaign was not aimed at parents of children who have genuine medial reasons for being absent, but was intended to address situations such as people taking holidays in term time, or the odd day’s sickness absence taken here and there.

But Mrs Lewis said she felt ‘offended’ by the Get a Grip leaflet sent out by the council, as the phrasing made it sound as if ‘parents were being attacked’.

She added: “I understand that the council probably just thought they were being edgy but if they really want to make a difference to attendance numbers they need to engage differently.”

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