‘The fact I can­not even look for­ward to prom is up­set­ting’

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By JESSWARREN jwar­ren@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

TEENAGER Libby Allen was look­ing for­ward to her school prom, but the day passed with­out a disco ball in sight.

Like thou­sands of stu­dents across the bor­ough, Libby’s lessons at St Crispin’s ended months in ad­vance, and the end-of-year cel­e­bra­tions can­celled due to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. But the 15-year-old said the abrupt end to the year has left stu­dents “with­out clo­sure”.

For her, the par­ties and leavers assem­blies were the sym­bol of an end

Now, she is headed off to The Hen­ley Col­lege, where she will study crim­i­nol­ogy, bi­ol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy at A-Level.

Her de­ci­sion to leave the school only mo­ti­vated by the choice of her sub­jects and teach­ing avail­abil­ity.

She told Wok­ing­ham.To­day: “I com­pletely un­der­stand why leavers day and prom could not be held this year due to the pan­demic.

“How­ever, in­stead, they have cho­sen to hold a sum­mer ball next year. As for ex-stu­dents, we are not al­lowed even the op­por­tu­nity to choose to come.

“I feel I’ve had no ap­pre­ci­a­tion for my hard work over the five years I spent at the school and mine, and many oth­ers, men­tal state has not been con­sid­ered.”

But St Crispin’s said they can­not host the event for stu­dents after they have left, due to in­sur­ance.

Head­teacher Ginny Rhodes told Libby: “I am not in a po­si­tion to be re­spon­si­ble for such an event with stu­dents whom will at that point will have left for nearly a year."

Libby said: “I can­not imag­ine the num­ber of teenagers across the bor­ough who are due to be ex-stu­dents and am in the same po­si­tion as me … the fact I can­not even look for­ward to a fu­ture prom is dis­heart­en­ing and up­set­ting.”

She added: “They haven’t con­sid­ered the dis­ap­point­ment and anger a lot of us are feel­ing. It’s just so neg­a­tive, there’s no apol­ogy or ap­pre­ci­a­tion for us.”

She has cre­ated a pe­ti­tion, ask­ing St Crispin's to re­con­sider their de­ci­sion and al­low the class of 2020 to at­tend the event.

Ms Rhodes told Wok­ing­ham.To­day: “The con­se­quences of Covid-19 have pre­vented the end-of-the-era op­por­tu­ni­ties that we would have all wanted.

“Last week the school held “The Great St Crispin’s Drive Thru Spe­cial Event” to say farewell. The car park was fes­tively dressed and all stu­dents and their par­ents greeted by mem­bers of staff and re­ceived hood­ies, pho­to­graphs and a small farewell to­ken.”

Pic­tures: Steve Smyth (above) and St Crispin’s (right)

Libby Allen (15) hopes the class of 2020 will be in­vited to the St Crispin’s sum­mer ball next year. This year they had a drive thru leavers event in­stead.

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