Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Message Does Prom for 11-Year-Olds Give Out?

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Message Does Prom for 11-Year-Olds Give Out?

Article excerpt

I have been thinking, once again, about the values we are promoting when we hold our annual "prom night" for Year 6 pupils (aged 10-11).

In fact, I have recently found myself questioning the whole event. Should we run it at all? If we do, how can we make sure it is appropriate for the age group?

The reason for my reluctance is not that I object to a celebration of Year 6 leaving, but rather the notion of a "prom" as the best way of doing this.

Attaching that word to the occasion prompts pupils to purchase exorbitantly expensive dresses that they can barely walk in. They get fake tans and nails, book hair appointments and hire big limousines. They argue about what to wear and who to go with. Should we really be encouraging such behaviour among 11-year-olds?

I did some research into approaches at other schools: it appears that many hold a barbecue or disco, with headteachers feeling that a prom-style celebration for younger children would get out of hand. In fact, my school seems to be alone in thinking that celebrity culture is something we wish to encourage. …

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