Saturday, 19 July 2014

Leaving Primary School is Expensive for Many Families

It has been quite an emotional week as my younger son left Primary School yesterday  and he and many of his friends were a bit overwhelmed by the time the leavers party finished.  I say leavers party but apparently a lot of people were referring to it as a Prom  and had spent the appropriate amount of cash they deemed fit for such an occasion.
 The children left the School in a party bus and stayed on this an hour then had an organised party complete with red carpet and food for a further two hours. The party bus was split cost wise between all us parents as was the venue which we had at a reduced rate due to a fellow mum working there.  I know my son enjoyed it all but you sort of feel, where does it end as these things seem to get bigger with every passing year.
  When my older son left four years ago these celebrations were already an expected thing but they had a stretch hummer to take them to a nearby restaurant where they all had tea then ran around outside.  I might also add they remained in their school clothes for the whole time.
 Now, the parents have been discussing outfits for weeks! The children mostly had expensive prom gowns and some boys had waistcoats and ties. My son was asked if he would like a shirt, he replied no I have clothes already I will wear chinos and a T-shirt (good lad I raised him well) I was also pleased to see that a couple of his closest friends were also dressed similar to him, you know, clean and looking like eleven year old boys not mini adults.   He told me one of the girls dresses cost £300! I thought that wont fit long they grow so fast at the moment!
 I may be cynical but what has happened where people feel the need to spend those amounts of cash on a disco? Lets face it that's what it is, I know they would all have loved the party just the same without all the bling as long as they were together having fun.  It's a shame that many of them are already programmed to feel that pull towards image and what their outfits cost. Clearly it is already in their minds that it is important for them to be comparing dress prices. One of the boys had also mentioned to my son that his suit was £500, not sure if he was exaggerating but again it shows that some kids think this stuff is what matters.
What really made me laugh is that a TA spoke to me on the drive and said these have been playing on the adventure playground (with a tut as she said it) gesturing to my son and his friends. I just smiled, they had to wait for the bus to arrive for forty minutes while children got dressed, had hair straightened, applied make up etc. Then posed Hello magazine style for the camera, my son and friends were on the adventure playground  after one photo running around in their change of clothes, being eleven. I was pleased to hear this because he is after all, a child and these years pass too quickly.
I wonder what will happen next year at the same school to top the event as that seems to be what is happening, I'll never know as both my children have left.  Now that is over we all have the expensive uniform to buy, and all the necessities for secondary school, fortunately as I didn't blow the family budget on one outfit we will be fine.
They are all such a super bunch of kids and have been really good friends all through school I just hope they don't lose too much of that as they move into their new school and popularity becomes the thing to aspire to for many. 
I did feel that if this is happening at most schools now it must be a tremendous strain for a lot of families.  people who are already worrying about kitting children out for the new school year but also don't want to disappoint their child.
 Maybe if schools all decided to have the end of year  6 disco there it might eliminate some of the expanding costs of limousines, buses and venues which all have to be booked and arranged sometimes a year in advance.  I know teachers will be groaning as these things have to be supervised and many just want to get going at the end of term. I work in school myself so I know what I'm suggesting but I just think it would really take some of the pressure off some families out there and maybe even a little off the kids.


  1. I am really shocked by this, I had heard of leavers 'proms' at secondary school, (which I think has got out of hand) but primary school?? I might sound like an old misery but I really don't like the way all this is heading. It puts a lot of pressure on parents who don't have the money and may be tempted to take out a loan so their children can have the same as their friends. Whats wrong with a school disco, when mine left primary school a few of us organised a disco in the hall and provided the food out of money raised from the summer fete so it didn't cost the children anything. They just wore whatever they wanted. There wasn't any proms when my sons left secondary school, they wouldn't have wanted to go anyway.

  2. That is exactly my point we never had a prom on leaving secondary school you just did something with friends. A school disco for leavers (in School )would sort it all. It has all come from America I think as many children watch shows which depict these events so it has caught on here. It has then made its way down to Primary school as a few parents along the way will have organised one and then every year after feels that they have to replicate it, or improve on it! I think its the same with Halloween and trick or treating, when did that become so huge here. The real celebrations in life are losing out to consumerism.

  3. This really blew me away, I had no idea of such goings on.
    What a waste of money, hard for parents to fund all this.
    Here in Dallas TX where I live, I have not heard of parties like this for youngsters.
    Certainly here, when they get to high school there is a junior prom and then a senior prom, which is tradition I believe.
    I do not know from experience as I am a Brit and lived most of my life in the UK.
    I can understand the high school proms, although I still think they are a waste of money, the young people are usually working a part time job by this time to help fund the cost. Also the churches help out, a Methodist church close by runs a shop which outfits girls and boys with donated clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery. Very nice they are too, I have seen pics, and its all free of charge.
    Youngsters have to be taught the value of money to provide a good grounding for their future.
    Pam in TX.xx


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