“You shall go to the ball”: Academy pays for tickets to ensure school leavers are not priced out of prom night at Colwick Hall

Marcus Shepherd, principal of The Wells Academy on Ransom Drive, said he did not want cost to be a barrier to year 11 students in attending an “important rite of passage”. 

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A principal told school leavers they SHALL go to the ball after agreeing the academy would pay their tickets to its first ever prom. 

Marcus Shepherd, principal of The Wells Academy in Mapperley, said he did not want cost to be a barrier to year 11 students in attending an “important rite of passage”. 

PICTURED: School leavers Natalia, Lucas, Asher, Chloe and Shyera
PICTURED: Leavers Lenne and Grace
Students pictured outside Colwick Hall

The academy paid for tickets for all of year 11 to go to their prom at the prestigious Colwick Hall Hotel on Tuesday. The ticket price included the food, the DJ and even a taxi service laid on from the academy for pupils who needed help with transport to the event.

Attending a school prom can be expensive for teenagers with tickets typically costing anything between £25 and £50. 

Not only is this the first year that students at the site have attended a school prom in three years because of Covid, it is also the first to be held for The Wells Academy. 

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The academy opened under its own name in September 2020 having previously been a campus of Nottingham Academy. 

Marcus said: “We haven’t had a prom for three years because of Covid, and during that time our year 11 students have not had a proper rites of passage day. Our current year 11s have gone through a pretty rough two years due to the pandemic. Also, they are the first year that have had GCSE exams since 2019, which has added to the pressure.”

Nearly 100 students turned out to the prom all dressed to the nines in a colourful array of frocks and suits. Students got their dresses from a variety of outlets with teen retailer Missguided a popular choice. 

PICTURED: Wells Academy principle Marcus Shepherd

Marcus said: “I think that proms have become such a rite of passage of students. Last year, in 2021, it was just so upsetting when the year 11s went down the drive to go home without being able to sign any shirts or say goodbye to their friends. I remember that day being really sad. That prompted me to agree that the academy would pay for the tickets for this year’s students to go to the prom. I think if you are going to do an event like this, it needs to be accessible.

“The night itself was fantastic with everyone having a great time. Everyone turned up dressed fabulously and ready to have a wonderful evening – which we certainly did. It was just a really joyful celebration of everything we’ve all worked together as a team to achieve.”

The Wells Academy has put in place a raft of measures to support its GCSE students this year, including opening the school up till 7pm daily during the exam period in order to provide a quiet space for students to revise if they wish. 

On top of that, academy leaders have also paid for revision guides, as well as laying on evening meals from local restaurants to feed hungry students staying on to work.

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Marcus said: “The motivation for us as a school in providing a free prom to our students is to say thank you to them for all the hard work they have done. They have been an amazing year group.”


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