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You can't come to the prom, school tells girl

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: June 21, 2012

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A CITY school has defended its decision not to let one of its pupils attend the end-of-year prom.

Kelly Land, from Wonford, said she has been "dreaming" about going to the Year 11 Prom at Isca College of Media Arts, since she started at the school five years ago.

The 16-year-old has spent around £150 on her outfit, including a dress, shoes and tiara and said she is "upset and angry" at the decision.

Simon Weir, deputy headteacher, said every school has a "passport-to-the-prom system" whereby managers set certain targets for pupils to meet.

He said Isca's criteria is based on attendance and punctuality and students who fell below 85 per cent are not allowed to go to the prom unless there are "extenuating" circumstances.

The teenager admitted that she had a below-average attendance record of 78.1 per cent – but claimed this was primarily because she was off sick with a cough after the Easter holiday so did not have the opportunity to make up the time.

"My mum rang the school up every day to explain why I wasn't in," she said.

"I'm really upset about it and feel angry. I've bought my whole outfit.

"It's the school prom – I've been dreaming about it since I was in Year 7.

"I don't think it should be about attendance but behaviour which I've tried really hard at."

Kelly's mum Lorraine, 45, also feels her daughter has been treated unfairly.

"Every day Kelly couldn't go to school I rang in and offered to write a note," she said.

"So I was doing my bit, but I was told it was fine and she'd still be able to go to the prom.

"My daughter was genuinely unwell, I wouldn't keep her off for nothing.

"Kelly is so disappointed, she was really looking forward to it. We feel it's important that she goes and I feel very sad for her.

"It seems very unfair because I was told she would still be able to go until recently."

Mr Weir said the rule is in place to encourage pupils to achieve certain standards which are "reasonable" with "simple expectations" and to make exceptions for students without "extenuating" circumstances would be unfair on the pupils who do meet the targets.

"No student is ever banned from going to the prom," he said. "But we have a system in place where we ask students to meet certain standards.

"Initially we set the target of 90 per cent attendance, which is still below the national and school average, and less than 20 lates, over a 14-week period from January to Easter.

"This is the intense period before their exams and we feel this short amount of time is generous.

"When we got to Easter there were a number of students who just missed the target.

"Those within five per cent of the target were then given an opportunity to improve their attendance or punctuality, over a set period of time. We then decided to roll it back to 85 per cent.

"Kelly's attendance record equates to her missing 1.5 days every 10 days.

"We feel we have been generous with the standards we've set and we take into account individual or extenuating circumstances."

Mr Weir said Kelly received regular phone calls from the school's attendance officer with all students regularly being made aware of attendance figures.

"It's a disaster for Kelly," he added. "And we recognise how hard she has worked in trying to improve her attendance and we sympathise with her anguish.

"But we feel in Kelly's case it is not appropriate to change the rules.

"We are very much an inclusive school and when you set up a system with reasonable targets and simple expectations, it's unfair on the other students to break the rules.

"These decisions are not taken lightly."

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  • Peterzz  |  June 21 2012, 10:23PM

    Sounds fair enough to me, a lesson learn't after all!

    Rate   17
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  • MrVanKleefe  |  June 21 2012, 5:30PM

    Don't worry about the school prom. Have your own party. Not everyone who is successful in life has been a model student. The school seems to have associated bad attendance with potential troublemakers and rooted them out from the last party.

    Rate   -19
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  • Karen362  |  June 21 2012, 4:32PM

    Shucks, sir - why go and stigmatise a young girl on what is surely going to be her last few weeks in full-time education? Won't it be hard enough as it is to find a local job in this climate? (er, no pun intended, folks!) Still, it could have been a lot worse, I suppose - she could have been banned for not having a date, thus losing all credibility: :// http madamenoire.com/170400/really-teen-banned-from-prom-because-she-doesnt-have-a-date/

    Rate   -20
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  • Rostow1  |  June 21 2012, 3:13PM

    what a spoilt little twerp - hope she fails her exams. school absolutely right to ban her.

    Rate   13
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  • Stuboy13  |  June 21 2012, 2:09PM

    They have rules, she broke the rules so was punished accordingly. I'm struggling to see a story here.

    Rate   30
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  • spottyginger  |  June 21 2012, 1:56PM

    Quite right too. All the time this kid was off school, she could have made an outfit, ( if she is capable of anything apart from skiving ), that suited her, instead of wasting £150 on some Americanized frippery

    Rate   19
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  • spottyginger  |  June 21 2012, 1:53PM

    Quite right too. All the time this kid was off school, she could have made an outfit, ( if she is capable of anything apart from skiving ), that suited her, instead of wasting £150 on some Americanized frippery

    Rate   14
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  • Karen362  |  June 21 2012, 10:25AM

    Come on, Weir, let Cinderella go to the bleddy ball! There were a lot of nasty viruses about at Easter... it could have happened to anyone. Don't be such a meanie... talk about winning friends and influencing people...

    Rate   -39
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  • omgnomore  |  June 21 2012, 9:34AM

    2 things. 1) Actions have consequences and 2) £150 on an outfit for a Child? Really?

    Rate   43
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  • woe_is_me1  |  June 21 2012, 9:22AM

    Seems like an appropriate lesson to learn for when she embarks on a career...sorry, if she embarks on a career. The schools says the target period was January to Easter and yet her "cough" was after Easter? Do we have all the facts? The figures suggest she missed 3 weeks of school during the target period. Sympathy? None. Quite why we should be encouraging our children to emulate our over-the-pond and over-the-top cousins is beyond me. If this is all our children look forward to in 5 years of High School then Tescos and Sainsburys must be rubbing their hands with glee. National service anyone?

    Rate   34
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