Year 11 students were ‘devastated’ to receive the news that their end-of-school prom would not go ahead as planned on June 26 at the Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle.
The school said it had no choice but to cancel the prom due to the ongoing situation, unfortunately meaning the students may not be able to say their goodbyes.
South Shields School in Nevison Avenue, will close for good on August 31, 2020 following a decision made by South Tyneside Council last year.
It has faced years of uncertainty being rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and failing to win an academy sponsor.
But despite the school making improvements and the efforts from parents and teachers to keep it open, council bosses decided to press ahead with the closure.
In a letter sent out to parents and pupils on Tuesday, June 2 staff said they would be unable to rearrange the prom for a later date as staff would no longer be employed by the council and “cannot be responsible for the organisation of such an event”.
Judith Ormonde’s 16-year-old daughter Sophie Ormonde, was due to take her GCSE’s this year, before the school closed due to coronavirus in March.
“We are all devastated that it’s not going to be rearranged, it’s such a shame,” said Judith, 50.
“I just feel really sorry for all of the students, after such a bad couple of years with the worry of the school closing, a lot of their friends and teachers leaving, and then the sudden closure in the run up to their GCSEs.”
She added: “When the school closed, they were promised that they would get a chance to come back and say goodbye – to at least have a leavers assembly.
“They are never going to see their classmates and teachers again.”
Judith says she and Sophie spent a lot of time searching for the perfect dress, forking out hundreds of pounds for one which it’s now unlikely she’ll ever get the opportunity to wear.
“There’s a lot of parents and students who feel the same way as us, there’s such a big build up to the prom,” she said.
“I know it’s very difficult with everything that’s going on, but it’s just another blow.”
Acting headteacher at South Shields School, Joe Dicocco commented: "We know how important the prom is to students, and how much students and staff were looking forward to the event.
“Unfortunately, large events are not able to go ahead due to Government guidelines around the coronavirus, and as student safety is paramount, we have been forced to cancel the Year 11 prom.
“Due to the closure of the school in summer 2020, we are sadly not able to arrange events for the next academic year. Staff are incredibly proud of our students for working so hard this year, in challenging circumstances, and we wish each and every student well for their future."