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School pupils ‘feel massively let down’ after prom cancellation

PUPILS said they felt let down after a school cancelled a year 11 leavers prom after ‘Freedom Day’ was delayed.

All Saints’ Roman Catholic High School in Rawtenstall has announced the cancellation of the prom which was to be held at Dunkenhalgh Hotel, Clayton-le-Moors, on June 25.

The date after June 21 was picked for the booking as that was the date when all coronavirus restrictions were to be lifted under the Government’s published road map.

But this week that final lifting was pushed back to July 19 in light of the spread of the delta variant of the virus, particularly in East Lancashire.

A spokesperson for the school said: “All our staff have worked very hard to arrange this prom and we are very sad that we can’t run it the way we want to.

“We are very proud of our year 11 pupils and we do hope to come together in another way should we be allowed.”

Disappointed pupils and parents are urging the school to rebook for after July 19, but the school says this is not possible as it is after the end of term.

Parents said an email from the school had stated the event would be rearranged if it had to be cancelled and they had spent a lot of money making the day special for their children.

One parent said: “We were told that if for any reason they can’t host at the Dunkenhalgh that an alternative will be made, maybe in school it states. We have all been out and spent a fortune on dresses and suits – surely an alternative date can be set.”

Another said: “This feels like you really don’t care about the children – not trying to reschedule as clearly stated in email that you would if it got cancelled.

“I’m sure I’m not the only parent that has spent hundreds of pounds for my daughter to have a special day.

“After the year they have had feel massively let down.”

Headteacher Brian McNally said: “We understand that this will create disappointment and we are equally frustrated by the position we are in.

“Given that the nature of a prom would be to enable pupils and staff to mix freely, and to have music and entertainment, it would be very difficult to enable the event to run at school whilst ensuring that the government guidance is being followed.

“Further, should one of the attendees develop COVID-19, then all attendees would be required to self-isolate as it would be impossible to identify close-contacts – and this would have a significant impact on the whole school’s pupils and staff.”

Some parents have asked whether the school would be able to hold the event after the restrictions are set to be lifted on July 19 or hold some kind of outdoor event instead.

In response to this, Mr McNally said: “If the event was to be rearranged to after July 19 – when it is hoped the restrictions may have relaxed – the school would be closed and staff would not be available to organise or support its running, and there would continue to be a possibility of its cancellation due to coronavirus.”