A Huntingdon student has been left heartbroken after being refused attendance to the school Prom.

School schemes where students have to earn enough points to be awarded the right to attend the end-of-year Prom have come under scrutiny this week.  

Some secondary schools operate ‘Passport to the Prom’ schemes, or similar initiatives, in the run up to students taking their GCSE exams.  

‘Prom points’ are awarded to Year 11’s for areas such as school attendance, going along to revision sessions and good behaviour.  

Deductions can be for poor behaviour, lateness or forgetting homework. 

Students who go on to earn enough points are awarded their ‘Passport to the Prom’ and can attend the celebrations.  

Schools argue it helps with focus, revision and exam preparation.  

Christopher Bennet, headteacher at St Peter’s School, Huntingdon, explained the initiative helps with motivation.  

He said: “Since we introduced the Passport to the Prom scheme, we have seen a real impact on our students wanting to put in the extra work and effort as they focus on completing their exams.” 

But one family has contacted this publication after their child was left “heartbroken” when she was not allowed to attend the same school's celebrations last month. 

Cambs Times: St Peter's School, in Huntingdon. St Peter's School, in Huntingdon. (Image: Google Street View)

We have chosen not to reveal the identity of Student A, but the family claim she struggled with school because of her dyslexia and challenging personal circumstances.  

As her mental health deteriorated, she didn’t feel well enough to attend and wasn’t able to earn enough ‘prom points’. 

Student A’s grandmother said: “We feel completely heartbroken for her. She has been denied an experience that is a really special occasion for teenagers these days. 

“There are going to be kids, for reasons beyond their control, who aren’t going to be awarded enough ‘prom points’. The system is unfair; all students should have the opportunity to go. 

“A family support worker at the school tried to intervene. My grandaughter was allowed to go to the [last day celebrations] – but they wouldn’t change their mind about the prom.” 

Mike Gregory, assistant headteacher at St Peter’s, said in an email to the family: “The prom is not part of our educational provision, it is something that staff choose to take on outside of their normal working commitments ... The same is true of the last day celebrations.   

 “As a school we have found that the Passport to the Prom has supported lots of students to make a concerted effort in the run up to exams that has better prepared them for the future.” 

He added the school also liaises with "students and families to set bespoke targets” as it appreciates “expectations have to be a little different” in some circumstances. 

To which, Student A’s grandmother responded: “I feel St Peter’s is contradicting itself.  

“At one point it’s saying how the prom isn’t part of the education provision, and yet it's in charge of awarding the points to students.  

“Also, why let her go to the last day celebrations and not the Prom? We were also not given the chance to set different targets for her, and our circumstances were different. 

“The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me. It seems incredibly unfair.” 

St Peter’s School is part of The Cam Academy Trust, which runs four secondary schools and seven primary schools.  

The Trust says each school has its own policy on prom attendance and ‘Passport to the Prom’ is not a trust-wide initiative.