A Darlington dad has been left more than £500 out of pocket after his daughter was banned from going to her school prom after he paid for her ticket and dress.

Matthew Grainger, 51, says he is £550 worse off after his daughter Lillie, who goes to Polam Hall School, Darlington, was left devastated when she was told she hadn’t earned enough points to be invited to the prom.

The Northern Echo:

The school requires students to earn 500 points to be invited with points awarded for ‘attending study club and tutoring sessions, attendance and punctuality’.

Lillie, 16, believed she had reached the 500-point threshold but says she had points taken away from her after a day off ill and is now eight-and-a-half points short.

But Kate Reid, principal of Polam Hall School refuted the suggestions, saying it is not the case that any student had points removed for poor attendance, adding points were only lost for negative behaviour incidents.

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Mr Grainger, a railway worker from Darlington, told The Northern Echo: “When I made a £200 deposit for a dress, she hadn’t reached the target of 500 points so I got in touch with her head of year who said she wouldn’t have any problem getting there.

“When the ticket appeared on Parent Pay I took it that she had reached 500 points so paid for it and the rest of the money for the dress.

“After half term they told her she wouldn’t be going to prom because she was eight-and-a-half points short.

“They are letting me pay for the ticket, pay for the dress, and the alterations, and then taking points from her.

“I’m about £550 out of pocket.”

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Lillie has been left stressed and upset after being told she can’t go to the prom on the school’s grounds on at the end of June.

He added: “She’s in the middle of her GCSEs at the moment and they have dropped this on her when her focus should be on the exams.”

The school have promised him a refund for the prom ticket, which Mr Grainger is yet to receive.

Mrs Reid said: “Our prom is a school event, which takes place on school grounds and is supervised by school staff.

“All Year 11 students and parents were first informed in November that they would need 500 points to attend prom.

The Northern Echo: Lillie's dress. Picture: MATTHEW GRAINGERLillie's dress. Picture: MATTHEW GRAINGER

“The students began the year with 500 points to give them the best possible chance of attending and there have been regular updates for both students and parents throughout the spring and summer terms.

“Students have been able to increase their reward points in many ways, including attending study club and tutoring sessions; attendance and punctuality to both school and lessons and maintaining and increasing their average Attitude to Learning Grades.

“Points were only lost for negative behaviour incidents.

“The school cannot comment on an individual student’s record, but it is not the case that any student had points removed for poor attendance.

“Refunds have already been given to parents who had paid for a prom ticket in advance.”


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