UPDATE: The Prince of Wales will chair the judging panel for the Christmas stamps. His Royal Highness will join Royal Mail's Chief Executive, Moya Greene; the author of the Charlie and Lola series, Lauren Child; Royal Mail's Head of Stamp Design, Marcus James, and Tasveer Shemza, who designed one of the 1966 stamps when she was six years old.   

STORY: This year's Christmas stamps will be designed by schoolchildren for the first time in more than 30 years.

Royal Mail is holding a competition for 4-11 year olds for the 1st and 2nd class values.

Previous competitions were held in 1966, for the first Christmas stamps, and 1981.

The theme is ‘What does the Christmas season mean to you?’, and the designs can be religious or secular.

The two competition stamps will be available in addition to the religious Christmas issue.

A panel of teachers will select 120 finalists from 12 regions across the country. Royal Mail, with a member of the Stamp Advisory Committee and an independent person will shortlist 24 runners-up and then select two final winners, for the 1st and 2nd class values.

The regional finalists will receive prizes of £100 for the school and £100 gift vouchers for the child. The shortlisted 24 receive  £500 for the school and £500 of gift vouchers for the child. They two winners will also be awarded £1,000 for the school and £1,000 in vouchers for the child.

The closing date is July 19, and winners will be announced in the autumn. The stamps will be released on November 5.

Schools or home-educators can download the entry pack at http://www.royalmail.com/stamps-design-competition-2013.