Last year I was surprised to hear of graduation ceremonies in the UK for 4 year-olds, so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to read this about a prom in South Wales for seven-year olds. At least they changed the cultural context a little for the prom in Rhondda by having a tea party before the disco! What really surprised me was that many of the kids arrived in limos! (At least the photo reveals that they had parents in tow!)
Limos were banned as transportation to the prom at one of the private schools I worked at here in the US because it created a very clear distinction between those who could afford them and those who could not. Instead, the students were offered a choice of restaurants to go to and the school arranged the transportation. Not so 'classy', but for many of these kids a limo was nothing special anyway. In the context of the UK state school system where something like 85% of schools have uniforms that were always supposed to promote a degree of equity, it seems downright wrong to have a prom that encourages people to spend large amounts of money on limos and on prom outfits that will never be worn again. What about the kids on free lunches? I know some of the families were very proud that they 'only' spent £20, but it was an outfit that will probably never be worn again (except for dress-up.) A 'leavers' do', or 'moving up' party would have been just as much fun for the kids I'm sure.
My parents recently paid us a visit from the UK. The immigration official at the airport told my father that he had a 'problem' because his fingerprint did not match the fingerprint they took when he entered the US last September. After sending him to another official, they decided that they had simply 'confused' my father's fingerprint with my mother's. He was actually expecting to have more of a problem with the fact that they never took his departure card when he left last year, so technically there is no record of him ever having left the country before returning last month . . . They didn't mention that.
And I was SO hoping that the INS' record-keeping had improved since I last had to deal with them :-(