English Proms – The Leaver’s Ball

American and Canadian high school students look forward to their proms every year. Did you know that European students have formal events to look forward to as well? Even though the high school prom has it’s origins in English coming-out parties, the English didn’t have high school formals until recently. Coming out parties were only available to the social elite of the country. In fact, the American high school prom created a desire in England for a prom-like tradition. The English equivalent of the American high school prom is called the Leaver’s Ball.

Unlike the American prom, the leaver’s ball is not a universal English tradition. Every school in England does not necessarily have a leaver’s ball. Some students may choose to organize their own version of the leaver’s ball without help from their high schools. Still, many schools choose to hire photographers to preserve the memories of one of their last school events, just like any American school.

Different schools around the nation have varying levels of formality for the event. Renting a tuxedo may not be required for some schools, while other schools may make a tuxedo mandatory for the event. Many students also do not choose to take limousines to the prom. The Leaver’s ball is often open to students, school staff and sometimes even parents. Instead of being a coming of age party, the leaver’s ball is a celebration to mark the graduation of the students.

One glaring difference between American proms and English Leaver’s ball is consumption of alcohol. Since the drinking age in England is only 18, students are often served Champagne and various alcoholic drinks during the celebration. As such, students do not feel a need to cover their drinking, and the safety of the students leaving the ball must come into account.

No prom king or queen is elected during the student’s high school tenure, but sometimes awards are given out, and various local traditions are observed.