Parents have reacted to the "hideous" decision by a Darlington school to stop a student going to prom, after her father had spent £550 on a dress and ticket.

Matthew Grainger, 51, says his daughter Lillie believed she had earned enough points to go to the prom, at Polam Hall School, Darlington, at the end of the month and paid for her ticket and prom dress.

She was then left devastated, and her father was left £550 out of pocket when the school told her she hadn’t earned enough points to be invited.

Read more: Darlington dad hits out as daughter banned from school prom

The school says students need to earn 500 points to be invited to the prom with points awarded for "attending study club and tutoring sessions, attendance and punctuality".

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

However, school principal Kate Reid refuted the suggestions, saying it is not the case that any student had points removed for poor attendance and that points were only lost for negative behaviour incidents.

The Northern Echo: Polam Hall School, Darlington. Picture: GOOGLEPolam Hall School, Darlington. Picture: GOOGLE

Parents jumped to support the Darlington father online with one branding the school’s decision "hideous". Another suggested proms are "ridiculous" and need to stop.

One commenter online said: “This is hideous, prom is to signify the end of school and completing exams, in what world does that translate into it being an earned event?”

Another added: “Doing your exams and getting through school should be enough to earn the prom. She's not going to get a chance to redo this. Schools seem to be getting worse these days”

Read more: Van found with thousands of illegal cigarettes in Darlington

Another poster said proms need to stop, adding: “It's just ridiculous the whole prom thing! These proms need to STOP!

“Some parents cannot afford this, and some kids will not go and miss out because of the cost.

“My daughter’s prom is next month and already we’re hundreds and hundreds in.

“It should be a school disco in the hall where every kid has the opportunity to go and wear what they want.”

In a statement to The Northern Echo school principal 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 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.

Read more: Darlington dad hits out as daughter banned from school prom

“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.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054