A SCHOOL who painstakingly arranged a Covid-safe prom has been forced to reschedule its event after being warned it could be fined by police.

Cranbourne School, in Wessex Close, Kings Furlong, has cancelled its end-of-year event for Year 11s four days before it was set to take place on Friday.

School proms have become an important rite of passage for leavers and after a tough year in isolation, online learning and changed exams, parents say this year's prom is even more important.

But Cranbourne students looking forward to celebrating on Friday, July 16, have had their plans scuppered after the school was warned it could be fined by police for "breaking Covid restrictions".

Headteacher Jane Aplin told The Gazette the prom has been planned "military" precision and in a Covid-safe way.

After getting conflicting advice on guidance on whether the event could go ahead, Ms Aplin spoke to Hampshire Constabulary who advised they couldn't rule out the possibility that the school and pupils could be fined if the event went ahead.

School leaders have been told to avoid hosting large group gatherings indoors such as assemblies, however outdoor events are “generally lower risk”.

The Department for Education states that schools "may consider" outdoor events for leavers' celebrations such as proms that cater to more than one bubble - provided groups are kept separate.

A great deal of time and effort has been spent in ensuring Cranbourne's outdoor prom would meet restrictions, the headteacher said.

Ms Aplin told The Gazette: “We found the advice from the government a little bit ambiguous so in the end I phoned the police and they were kind of puzzled as well. They couldn’t guarantee to me that we wouldn’t get fined. So, I went back to the student prom committee and we took a joint decision on it and I think it’s the right one."

“I’ve only had one girl come in and say she couldn’t get a hair appointment but everyone else seems to be fine and actually we have got a hair and makeup salon on site because we teach hair and beauty. So, if worse comes to worst we could probably do it here. I think this is the right decision for the most people.”

Speaking about the planning arrangements, she said: “We had a staggered start, everyone would have had to be in facemasks and they had to rotate in 20 minute blocks around the BBQ. It was like running a military operation and even then, we couldn’t even guarantee we wouldn’t get fined."

The prom will now take place a week later on Thursday, July 22, four days after coronavirus restrictions are due to be lifted in full.

The sudden change has left some parents upset after hair, nail, makeup and transport appointments have had to be rearranged.

One parent said: "I understand there is are far worse things going on in the world right now but as a mother I know it was important to [my daughter]. I just wish we had been given more notice.”

Ms Aplin said she has been speaking to parents and pupils and only one student hadn't managed to rebook a hair appointment.