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School #leaving parties: (don't) hang the expense

dance 2282561 640 1When I left my London primary school in the 1970s there were no celebrations I can remember: perhaps we had a game of rounders on the dog-**** covered school playing field. Or maybe someone brought in a bag of own brand crisps and a teacher thumped away on the piano so we could play musical statues. But now leaving school is a rite of passage that needs marking properly: translated, that means it’s another occasion for parents to spend money.

I guess I shouldn’t moan too much as I believe some schools have fully-fledged American-style Proms for school leavers – even those just moving from primary to secondary education. Negotiations are ongoing for my eleven year old son’s class celebration. Perhaps they’d like a meal out in a restaurant. Or a meal followed by a disco. Or perhaps an activity (swimming, trampolining, bowling etc) followed by a meal and a disco. We’re only a step away from an outing to a theme park being mooted.

Frankly, it's exhausting – both the negotiations about the event and the potential cost. And there’s more. Have you come across the school hoodie? In exchange for £20+ your child could have an item of clothing bearing the name of their school which they will never wear and will soon outgrow anyway. I believe that by the time you get to the teenage years the cost of it all is even higher – post GCSE Proms seem here to stay (I blame American films/sitcoms). That means an evening dress for a teenage girl or a tuxedo for a boy – no chance of either of them ever being worn again, I think.The canny will hire: still not cheap. And then there’s transport to the Prom: would you believe that stretch limos, vintage sports cars and even horse-drawn carriages have been used.

It’s hardly as if kids leaving school are going to the trenches: rather a new school/college or university. And they will keep in contact with the kids they’ve been at school with if they want to: that’s what their phones are for. Come to think of it, how about a phone party? Why go to any expense when all they want to do is Snapchat or whatever. Sorted.

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Monday, 10 December 2018