Rush to save school proms from being axed

Flegg High School prom in 2017

Flegg High School prom in 2017. The school's 2021 event is scheduled to take place on July 20. - Credit: Flegg High School

Norfolk schools have been left hastily trying to rearrange end-of-school proms because of the decision to prolong restrictions on social gatherings.

Hundreds of students are set to be disappointed as school leaving celebrations are postponed with fears that further extensions to restrictions beyond July 19 could see some events cancelled.  

Under the current restrictions proms are bound by the legal gathering limit of 30.

School prom

The Department for Education has told schools proms may not be feasible due to coronavirus restrictions until July 19. - Credit: Archant

The Department for Education has told schools that while sports day events can still go ahead indoor prom events are “unlikely to be feasible” but that they “may consider” alternative outdoor events.

It has forced schools to reschedule celebrations including Smithdon High in Hunstanton whose prom, which had been due to take place on June 22 at Knights Hill Hotel in King's Lynn, will now be held on July 20. 

Prom at Dunston Hall.

Prom at Dunston Hall. The venue has seen schools postpone events due to the extension to restrictions. - Credit: Archant

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But in a letter to parents the school said if restrictions extended further the event would be cancelled. 

It said: “We have investigated the possibility of holding the prom on the school site as an alternative to the formal gathering at Knights Hill, but unfortunately the risks are too severe to enable us to go ahead with this in the current climate should a student or a member of staff attending test positive for Covid in the days following the event.”

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Other schools with proms set to take place on July 20, and which could see arrangements hit by a further extensions, includes Flegg High Academy in Great Yarmouth and Open Academy in Norwich.

Jon Ford, principal of Open Academy

Jon Ford, principal of Open Academy in Norwich. - Credit: DNEAT

Open Academy principal Jon Ford said: “We appear to have been very lucky in that we have been able to re-book our prom with Sprowston Manor from June 25 to July 20, just past the next deadline.”

The school had already held a 'bubbled BBQ' in the school grounds allowing students to say their farewells, he added.

Popular proms venue Dunston Hall in Norwich said it has seen two school celebrations postponed. The City of Norwich School prom had been due to take place at the venue on July 17.

High school prom at Dunston Hall. 

High school prom at Dunston Hall. - Credit: Archant

Inspiration Trust, which runs eight local secondary schools, said they were "reviewing plans". “Schools will follow government advice carefully when making any decisions,” they added.

West Norfolk Academies Trust said Springwood High and St Clements High School in King’s Lynn, which both hold popular leavers’ proms, were “looking at options”.

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