Woman organises do after Covid-19 restrictions force school in Dagenham to cancel prom

Sydney Russell School in Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham

Sydney Russell School in Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham, had to cancel its prom after the government postponed the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. - Credit: Ellie Hoskins

A woman is organising a do for school leavers after the extension of Covid-19 restrictions forced a secondary to cancel its prom.

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham planned to hold its annual soiree for Year 11 students but was forced to call it off after the government postponed the easing of lockdown rules.

Headteacher Janis Davies said the school had taken the same decision as every other secondary in Barking and Dagenham in order to comply with guidelines.

"We wanted our children to go to the prom - we book every year - but it's just not tenable. We are putting on an alternative which we have risk assessed.

"It's a shadow of a prom, but it's the best we can do. We really do feel for [the students]," she said.

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The school had offered tickets to a party at Woolston Manor to its 342 Year 11s, but is now planning a free barbecue, speeches and music to celebrate the end of the school year.

Those who bought prom tickets are being refunded.

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Sapphira Deller's sister Amber had been looking forward to Sydney Russell's prom. After the cancellation, Ms Deller stepped in to organise an alternative.

She accused the school of not giving much notice before the cancellation, which she said had left some parents still having to cover the cost of dresses, suits and transport.

But Ms Davies said the school had been clear from the start there was no guarantee the prom would go ahead and it depended on the relaxation of restrictions.

Ms Deller has a venue booked for July 9, but to complete the reservation needs to sell 85 tickets by June 22 at a cost of £42.50.

At the do, youngsters would have to stay at tables of six but would be able to mingle outside if the weather permits.

Responding to rumours the prom is a scam, Ms Deller said: "I can assure you, I just want to help. I'm not making any profit out of this."

She added if the organisers haven't reached the target to sell 85 tickets, parents will be refunded minus a £2.50 admin fee paid to an accountant who is dealing with the payments.

Ms Davies said: "If parents want to run a prom and people want to go to it, we have no issue with that. But it has nothing to do with Sydney Russell."

For more, email sapphiradeller12@yahoo.com

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