Monday, 10 January 2011

Primping, Preening and Proms....

Last week I had the unusual and unexpected pleasure of having half an hour to sit on my bum and watch a bit o' telly. I get bored flicking through the cable guide and so I settled for the good old Beeb and decided to go with whatever came on. What I saw in the next thirty minutes filled me with shock, indignation and utter disbelief. No, I was not watching that awful Eastenders programme but a documentary entitled Pre-Teen Proms

From the BBC website:
Proms to mark the end of primary school are the latest pre-teen craze. And they're growing, not just in numbers, but in glitz. Pre-teen Proms tells the story of the children at two schools in the three months running up to this latest, inescapable, rite of passage. At Riverside Primary in Livingston, the teachers love the fun and glamour of the prom, while at well-heeled Mearns Primary just outside Glasgow, they're fighting to keep the 40-year-old Scottish tradition of their leavers dance alive.

But as the kids demands mount - pamper parties, horse drawn carriages, limos, maseratis, red carpets and non-alcoholic cocktails, not to mention prizes for prom king, prom queen and couple most likely to get married - the parents have little choice but to stump up the cash. So once the kids have had their say, how different will the dances really be? Who wins - the adults or the 11-year-old kids?

I have to say right now, from the start of this post that this was one of the most depressing sights I have ever seen (perhaps due to the fact that I do not watch Eastenders?). Eleven and twelve year olds trawling through Debenhams and New Look with their mothers looking for outfits. Little girls having their eyebrows waxed, dyed and tooth jewels applied (by one of the mothers!) so that they can look the part. The kids were whipped into a frenzy with prom fever egged on by their parents who seemed to delight in the nonsense and the attention. Worse than this were the teachers who appeared to be under the distinct impression that this was High School Musical or some other Americanised nonsense! Living the dream was a phrase that was used at one point. *FFS!

I thought I'd do a bit of a Google search to find out what the reactions to the show were and found that the whole thing caused very little uproar at all. True to our Scottish natures, the only grumbling I could find was about the cost of the palaver. The cost of it didn't worry me, it was the desire for the adults surrounding these kids to catapult them into a sort of kidulthood. Some appeared to think that it was cute, funny, endearing. Many of them were oozing with parental pride at their wee men and women dressed up to the nines, covered in make up or hair gel. The actual event was a bit of a let down and the kids looked awkward. You could just sense that the boys were desperate to slide from one end of the hall to the other on their knees but for fear of their mothers and for fear of the expense that they were constantly told had been laid down for their benefit they managed to restrain themselves. 

Whatever happened to children being allowed to be children? I'm sick of adults pushing these stupid and misplaced aspirations on their kids. 

I thought it couldn't get any worse but then I found this: (from the BBC website)

A parent has been banned from sending an 11-year-old child to their end-of-year primary school prom in a helicopter.
East Renfrewshire Council confirmed it had received an inquiry about landing a helicopter in the grounds of Mearns Primary in Newton Mearns.
But it rejected the request on health and safety grounds.The local authority said the idea was dismissed because it had no educational benefits.It is understood the parent wanted their child to make a big entrance at the end-of-term party.It comes as part of a growing trend for more outlandish gestures at school-leavers' dances.Children often arrive at their proms in stretched-limos and other flashy cars.
"But we refused that request because the school would have had to spend time cordoning off areas to keep the children safe.
"Their time is better spent teaching the children."He added: "We have had parents wanting to drop their children off in limos and even a Ferrari, all sorts of vehicles."Generally we would try to accommodate as much as we can, recognising that this is a big important event in the children's and the parents' lives."The helicopter request was maybe just a wee bit over the top."
A spokeswoman for the charity One Parent Families Scotland said the cost of end-of-term parties could put pressure on parents.She added: "Schools need to be sensitive to the financial circumstances of all parents.
"It's about having inclusive policies and the mechanisms for helping those who are in limited incomes so their children don't miss out. "Children, being children, want to be part of the group."


  1. Seriously unbelievable. I've never even heard of this phenomenum! Is it based on a Scottish tradition of the end of school dance. Couldn't quite make it out. But wherever it comes from let's hope it doesn't spread!! Though I fell sorry for the parents unable to spend a grand or two on a helicopter - obviously. Perhaps they'd like to donate it to search and rescue instead!

  2. It was never a tradition in my day! (yep, I said MY day...) The funny thing is is this happens in areas that are full of local authority housing and so the vast majority don't have a few grand lying around to waste on such nonsense.


  3. Has a very "American Beauty Pageant" feel to it all. Can't help wondering how they will trump this when it comes to the end of secondary school prom. I'm sure when I finished primary school we had a few sausage rolls and organised party games involving balloons!

  4. I hate all this flashiness. My daughter and her friends all turned up for their prom on an open top bus. Great fun I am sure but expensive and her expensive hair do was ruined byt the time she got there!

  5. @Paula: We had the same! It's a ridiculous thing at a such a young age! X

  6. @Suzie: just goes to show that while they love the fuss, they're simply too young for this. Thanks for commenting. xx

  7. All I can say to this is 'pffffft' and that it WONT be my children taking part in that silly carry on. Am a little bit stunned by it tbh!! Thanks for joining in blog gems. Jen

  8. @Jan:As am I. With A nearing the end of Primary School I had no idea this went on and am just waiting for someone to suggest a prom before I go a bit mental! Thanks for hosting. xx


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