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Why do school leavers have to have 'Proms'?

(36 Posts)
greenmossgiel Sat 02-Jul-11 17:17:34

What do you think about 'Prom Dresses'? I'd always thought that a High School Prom was only an American thing, but now it seems as if it's taken on here as well. Bad enough that senior school pupils were expecting to have a fortune spent on them for gowns and limos, but now primary schools are allowing it as well! My granddaughter (11) has just had her 'leaving prom' for her class, now that she's moving up to high school. Her other granny made her a really pretty dress, (the material must have been quite expensive), and she had new high heeled sandals and a gorgeous bag. Why though? She then went along to the school for a couple of hours one evening during the week and came back (that was it...nothing else!) Some mums had apparently paid out about £300 for dresses. I don't want to sound like a misery, but it's such a concern for children whose families couldn't afford to spend even a little on a special dress. Straight away, those children are singled out as being different, and they move up to high school with their peers possibly still boasting about what they wore to the Prom. I think primary schools should be more sensitive to the children's families' ability to lay out money like this. hmm

JessM Sat 02-Jul-11 17:28:54

Too right. Too young. Absolutely agree.
In our school we do have leaving proms but given the poverty of the area they are not flash affairs. Just a sixth form dance really. Limos for teenagers is crazy and insensitive. What are schools thinking of? We are as one on this!

baggythecrust! Sat 02-Jul-11 17:59:29

Even worse is nursery school "graduations" where wee tots dress up in academic gowns and mortar boards! I've nothing against dressing up but really! The world is going mad.

bikergran Sat 02-Jul-11 18:08:17

at my grandsons school they are having a WEDDING LOL... apparently its some thing to do with religion...the little ones are going through a ceromony! lol.and we have been asked to take biscuits for the party afterwards lol...

harrigran Sat 02-Jul-11 19:05:46

Totally agree about proms being a very bad idea. I am sick of people telling me how much they have spent on a dress, hair-do, make-up and a limo. For goodness sake get a life ! I would never have asked my parents to provide these things just because I was leaving school. We left so that we could bring money into the house not bankrupt our parents. Time for parents to get a backbone I think and stop creating little princesses.

crimson Sat 02-Jul-11 21:23:47

Only heard about this for the first time today; is that why there are so many of these dress hire places springing up everywhere? It cost enough when my son had formal dinners at uni, but at least one suit did him for the three years [which we bough second hand from a suit hire shop].

numberplease Sat 02-Jul-11 22:24:15

My daughter paid out £150 for my granddaughter`s prom dress, and that`s considered a cheap dress nowadays. One of my grandsons had to have a new suit for his primary schoolprom 3 years ago, and it cost £60, and I think that`s a hell of a lot for an 11 year old boy, especially as he only got to wear it once more before it was too small.

Joan Sat 02-Jul-11 23:10:01

Here in Queensland Australia they just have the one 'Formal' as it is called here, in their final high school year. One son didn't bother going, the other loves that kind of thing and hired out a tux. The girls do the whole posh frock thing, costing parents a fortune. Our lad hired a 'silver service' taxi - just a basic taxi, silver, with some sort of crest on it, for himself and his then girlfriend.

After junior school it is ridiculous, especially if they do the academic gown thing too. Here they have a special assembly at junior school, where prizes are handed out, and a talk given to the kids about the whole transition thing.

I think academic gowns and mortar boards should be reserved for tertiary graduations.

baggythecrust! Sun 03-Jul-11 06:58:39

I can only think that spending all that money on non-essentials (and very far down the non-essentials list at that) is a sign of affluence.

harrigran Sun 03-Jul-11 09:54:30

If that was the case baggy it would not be such an issue. I have been reading about families putting themselves in considerable debt to ensure that DC has the best outfit.

expatmaggie Sun 03-Jul-11 10:46:57

I have heard of this for the first time today. Is the UK going mad? Little children in mortar boards and gowns.

Somehow in Germany, in 1945 the Germans lost interest in uniforms and celebrations about nothing, and everything is now just what it is, not what it is made out to be. When the high school leaver leaves at 18 or 19 they have an evening where the girls dress up a bit and the boys scrub themselves up in a clean shirt. It is all very nonchalant.
Private colleges with the new BA courses do have an evening with mortar boards but somehow it is not taken seriously.
My daughter, a microbiologist after 5 years at university, just when along one morning and was handed her Diploma and had glass of champagne with a group of friends. Parents or partners were not invited.

This seems to be yet another reason to get little girls into high heels. My Yorkshire mother would have pronounced it as 'common'
I watched the wedding in Monaco yesterday and the nieces of the bridegroom aged from 11-17 were dressed up in fine fabrics but absolutely covered up. There was very little leg above the knee and no chest on view to the millions of TV viewers.
Anything that costs money seems to get off to good start even though so many parents are strapped for cash. Are there no groups of mothers who stand up against it?

baggythecrust! Sun 03-Jul-11 11:11:21

If I couldn't afford something my kids wanted, or had what I thought were good reasons for not buying it, I told them. They always understood. That said, it's quite possible that they didn't ask for outrageous things because they knew what the answer would be. And no, there is no estrangement between us and never has been. Where are people's guts nowadays?

Perhaps my kids feel they same about all this stupid peer group pressure. DD1 is talking about home-schooling her kids, DD2 decided not to bother with all the university graduation fuss (she'd got her degree and didn't feel the need to 'party' about it). I was the same; my parents came along and we had a quiet meal out together wearing nice but 'already owned' clothes. It was just fine. Recognition was given, a sense of achievement was felt. All the important stuff dealt with without a fuss.

There seems to be a deep-seated fear in most people to say "I can't afford that" which attitude is not helped by the meanness of others then calling anyone who does say it a cheapskate. Nasty. sad

Dee Sun 03-Jul-11 13:06:22

I'm an ex primary teacher and we'd never have gone in for the whole prom thing at any of the schools I worked at, most of which were in poorer areas.
I don't agree with it at secondary school either.
Our local paper has been full of photos of 16 year olds in expensive ball gowns this week. I really feel for the parents and young people who just can't afford all this nonsense.
Schools exist to educate our children, not push them to be mindless consumers, I think they should be taking a lead on this and all of you out there who are, or know, school governors should be putting pressure on the schools to do just that.
Its clear from all the 'Princess on board' stickers in cars etc that some parents don't think through the messages they send out to their kids.
Others don't seem to be able to resist the peer pressure.
I'd like to say to any young parents who feel uncomfortable with all this that its o.k. to say no to your children as long as you explain why.
They'll still love you and grow up to respect you and what you stand for.
It worked with mine.

hellypelly Sun 03-Jul-11 14:48:04

I agree with the last two comments on here that it all seems rather over the top. I just left school after my A-levels and only went back for the results. I'm still in touch with my best friends from those days even though we have never lived near each other since then. Surely that's what matters in the end, not expensive frocks.

goldengirl Sun 03-Jul-11 21:04:27

Sadly what happens in America seems to make its way across the Pond eventually. I thinks proms are way over the top and can cause unnecessary upset. Teenagers have enough problems to contend with. When I was at school our term ended with a casual barbecue on the beach with the odd glass of cider. My father collected me and a couple of friends at 10 pm and I remember some of our male classmates helping us up the cliff and across the field to the road to meet him. When I visited the site much later I couldn't believe I got up that cliff especially as I don't like heights!!!! No prom dresses, just jeans and a sweatshirt; no jealousies just a great time - and cheap.

absentgrana Mon 04-Jul-11 12:06:30

Has the world gone completely mad? Proms, posh frocks and limousines for junior school children and weddings that cost on average more than £20,000? What I don't understand is how fools and their money got together in the first place.

borstalgran Mon 04-Jul-11 18:34:04

I am appalled at nusery/primary proms. It's on a par with all those ghastly baby bras and I'm a little princess/bad girl whatever T shirts. Childhood is vital to developing well balanced adults, so stop all this expensive, foolish nonsense. I want my grandaughter to be a child for as long as possible, to develop self worth not based on frocks and competition. Time for parents to exert power and say no to nursery/primary schools wanting such events. It's not difficult to do.

em Mon 04-Jul-11 20:56:27

Our primary school always staged a ceilidh for the p7 children who were leaving. I think at that time they got it more or less right, but not sure what has happened in the last 4 years!

crimson Mon 04-Jul-11 22:36:42

'I don't understand how fools and their money got together in the first place'..absentgrana..what a wonderful statement!

Joan Tue 05-Jul-11 12:10:19

I'm glad my sons just made their own minds up about the school formal. As I said before, one went, the other didn't. It is a big social occasion that some kids really love, and as long as no-one goes overboard with the expenses I don't mind it. The lass my youngest son took to the formal had a dress made by her auntie, and she had dyed a pair of shoes to match the colour, so I guess she didn't spend too much. The taxi was cheap enough as the venue wasn't far away, which was just as well, because we were going through very hard times. Still - I'm glad I only have sons.

fillygumbo Tue 05-Jul-11 16:44:51

I do think its gone too far, my own daughter now aged 30 was one of the first year groups in her school to have a prom, she looked lovely in a dress her granny had made and walked to school as normal, we would have laughed if anyone suggested she went in a limo for heavens sake.
As for primary school children having proms I think its a shame that everything comes to them too soon - too lenient heads perhaps

GillieB Wed 06-Jul-11 11:07:38

I agree with everyone - I think proms are a complete waste of money and not good at all for children. When my daughter left high school at 18 they just had a dance - local hotel and we drove her and her friends there. There have been threads on Mumsnet about proms for primary school children and the general feeling there seems to be that they are not good.

I have to say, when my two were children, the people who spent the most on their children were always the ones who, on the face of it, couldn't afford it.

maxgran Thu 07-Jul-11 15:11:42

I hate the idea of these proms. My grandson's school had one for the leavers aged 11 and there was just one little girl whose mother refused to let her go because she could not afford a fancy prom dress. It was such a shame for her to be the odd one out like that. They also had stretch Limos for the kids.

We just had a leavers do at a hotel when I left school at 16. Not everyone went to that and it was pretty much wear what you want !

silversurfergran Fri 08-Jul-11 14:50:25

I think the whole thing is getting right out of hand. I have 3 gd's and 1 has had 3 proms ,1 at the end of her 5th school year then at each of the 2 6th form years - 3 dresses and a stretch limo each time. The other 2 shared big taxis with their friends but again had the new posh frocks, 1 of them having 2 proms from 2 different schools.
Their parents could just afford it but that's not the point, I don't think there should be this pressure on them to join in this silly system. What can you do?

BurgundyGran Fri 08-Jul-11 15:33:09

When my elder daughter left school there was no prom, she is 35 this year and she wouldn't have been bothered either. Her sister who is 31 this year had a prom but she didn't want a meringue dress or go over the top so she just went in whatever she had in her wardrobe!

My neice had her prom last week and her parents found a dress on e-bay, in the sales they got a bag and shoes, her best friend's grandad has a rolls royce and took them to the prom.

Spending astronomical sums of money is ridiculous dress, bag, shoes, hairdos, tanning, transport etc etc. Some parents spend around £800 for an evening. Mad.

I don't believe that primary schools should have proms, there have been parties at the end of year but posh frocks, stretch limos etc at that age or younger is totally ridiculous.

My grandaughter who lives in France like me is 10 and the prom circus hasn't arrived here yet. she is not keen on that sort of thing she says and is not sure she would enjoy it.