‘Proms are costly and create peer pressure’ says headteacher over celebration storm

Vision Studio School, Mansfield
Vision Studio School, Mansfield
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A headteacher has defended the decision not to organise an end-of-year prom for students, saying it creates pressure on students to have ‘the most expensive outfit’.

Heather Scott, interim principal of Vision Studio School in Mansfield, says a celebration this summer was never “sanctioned or even discussed” by senior staff.

Students reacted angrily to the news, especially after they had been given a questionnaire asking for ideas days before it was confirmed a prom would not go ahead.

But Ms Scott said it was a mistake that it was handed out.

She said: “Unfortunately, many students and indeed some staff members had been under the impression there would be a prom.

“But clearly a misunderstanding has arisen from somewhere, which is deeply regrettable, and I’m sorry for any upset this has caused students, because I want them to end their time with us on a high.

“Although there is no budget currently set aside for a prom, the door is definitely open to having some sort of celebration. We welcome students’ suggestions on what form this might take.

“While I like the idea of an end-of-year celebration, I’m personally not in favour of proms.

“I think they’re costly for parents and can create peer pressure on students to have the most expensive outfit, which is unfair on those who can’t afford it.

“Why would we take away their chance to mark their time here and celebrate the completion of their studies?

“I just think there are better ways of doing it than having a prom.”

Ms Scott said because she will be leaving in March, she could not make a decision on an event in the summer.

She also played down reports there was no budget because the money had been spent painting the school – saying the decorating had actually been paid for by the Department for Education.

One Year 11 student at the Chesterfield Road South school said: “Everybody in our year is upset by it because they were looking forward to it, and now they’re not going to get one. It’s something we’re going to have to organise on our own.

“We need to find a venue and put the money in ourselves, but it will be difficult.”