Schools and workplaces offer late start on Monday after Euro 2020 final

Final is a ‘learning opportunity’, one school says

Matt Mathers,Celine Wadhera
Friday 09 July 2021 22:57
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Some schools and businesses are offering pupils and employees the opportunity to have a late start on Monday after England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.

The match, which kicks off at 8pm BST on Sunday, may not finish until close to 11pm if fans are forced to endure yet another nail-biting penalty shoot-out.

While this would constitute a late night for most young children, those watching on from pubs and bars across the country are likely to get even less sleep in the event of an England victory, with celebrations expected well into the night if the Three Lions do manage the impossible.

This has led some schools and workplaces to relax start times on Monday morning.

Rossmere Primary in Hartlepool has informed parents that school will start at 8.40am as usual after the day after the match. However, children who arrive up until 10.30am will not be marked absent and will not miss any teaching time.

“If your child is a football fan and likely to be staying up until after 11pm on Sunday to watch the final, then let them stay in bed a bit longer and get to school by 10.30am on Monday,” the school said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“We would rather have children rested and in school ready to learn rather than absent all day or grumpy!”

The school noted that it has been over half a century since England last played in a football final, adding that the event is a “learning opportunity” for children who can “talk about the importance of the National Anthem, talk about pride and resilience and possibly disappointment”.

But there was an immediate backlash by some angry Facebook posters, who accused the school of disregarding children’s education.

Others praised the move, suggesting it might be “common sense” to allow a later start after people have stayed up late to watch the Three Lions.

One person replying to the school’s notice on the social networking site said: “Little gestures like this demonstrate why this school is special, it has the mental wellbeing of the students at its core and has managed to identify a learning objective that doesn't need to be in the classroom and will inevitably make the most of an otherwise ‘write off’ day for some kids!!

“Fabulous idea. Well done – the country needs more schools willing to think beyond the guidelines provided by unqualified individuals telling teachers how to teach! You’ll make a difference in these kids lives.”

Another said: “In a week’s time kids won’t remember what they were taught between 9-10.30 on Monday. In 50 years time they’ll remember the night they stayed up to watch the football (win or lose) and were allowed to go in late. It's a joyous thing and there aren't that many of those in life.”

Responding to some of the negative comments in an updated post, Rossmere said it is not encouraging pupils to stay off.

“Quite the opposite,” it said. “With a number of parents being allowed time off work on the Monday, we didn’t want to see children taking the whole day off because they were tired. Allowing some to come in later means that they will be ready for learning when they arrive. Swapping the timetable round means they won’t miss learning,” it said, adding that a number of other schools are taking a similar approach.

Similarly, children attending Braywick Court School in Bray, Berkshire, will not be marked absent or late if they arrive by 10.30am.

Gemma Donnelly, the school’s head teacher, wrote to families saying: “This gives you the option to stay up late to watch the match, or watch it in the morning before coming to school if you would like to.”

Schools across the country are following suit, with many in London, Leeds, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, County Durham, West Midlands, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, and Berkshire saying that children can arrive up until 10.30am without being marked as “late”.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged other employers to consider allowing staff to enjoy a lie-in on Monday due to the Three Lions' participation in the European Championship final against Italy on Sunday night.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Bosses should talk to their staff about flexible working arrangements ahead of Monday morning – perhaps allowing them to start later and claim back their time afterwards.

“And bosses should show flexibility too towards the 2.2 million workers who work on a Sunday – many of them key workers.

“Many of them will want to watch the match, and they should be able to, either at work or by finishing early and making up the time.”

Downing street has said that employers who have the luxury of flexibility should allow staff to arrive late to work on Monday – or even to take the day off entirely – should England win.

Grocery chains across the country are championing the cause and making allowances for employees around the Euro 2020 final. Co-op plans to close all of its food stores at 7.45pm Sunday evening to allow staff time off to watch the match, and Lidl plans to open stores an hour later than usual on Monday morning, should England Win.

Other businesses from clothing retailers to law firms are also implementing flexible working policies for Monday.

Online retailer Asos has said that workers can start late on Monday and is offering free breakfast to its employees.

Immigration law firm Carter Thomas is also allowing employees to have a lie-in on Monday with a late start, and implementing a “camera off” policy for the day.

Momentum has been growing for a national day off if the Three Lions are victorious on Sunday, with more than 300,000 people signing a petition calling for a bank holiday to celebrate such an occasion.

Downing Street has remained coy on the prospect of a bank holiday, although it’s been reported that the government is considering scheduling a holiday for sometime in August, should England win. Similarly, a victory parade would be scheduled for after 19 July, when coronavirus restrictions are set to be relaxed.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “We don’t want to pre-empt the result and tempt fate. We would obviously set out any plans, if necessary, in due course. Let’s see what happens Sunday.”

Sunday’s final is due to kick off at Wembley at 8pm. The game will finish by 10pm if it ends in normal time. However, if it goes to extra time or a penalty shoot-out, the game would conclude closer to 11pm, with trophy presentation pushing the end of the evening’s coverage even later.

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