As we draw closer to the Euros, football fans are eagerly anticipating the summer of football fever ahead of them. With red and white flags flapping noisily on the antenna of every car and red and white shirts swarming around every English pub, you’d have to be worryingly ignorant to avoid the national embrace of the beautiful game.
Those who feign even the slightest interest in football will attest that despite England’s typically poor performance, their fans’ support during the Euros or the World Cup remains unparalleled. Club rivalry is suspended and football fans across the country are galvanised through their unified support of their country. As a result, England will ignite with excitement and transform into one of the best places be this summer… other than France of course.
However, for those who dislike football, the Euros and the World Cup can conversely be at best a mild inconvenience and at worst a summer spoiler. Because of this, opinions on the Euros are polarised. Football fans love it, football sceptics despise it.
Thereby, when a school declares a half-day for its students during England’s Euro matches, its response is met with polarising views. One such school is Oasis Academy Lord’s High School based in Southampton, Hampshire. The school’s principal, Ian Golding, has written to parents saying that the school will finish prematurely at lunchtime for England’s match on 16 June.
According to the Daily Mail, the principal’s letter read, “as you are probably aware, on Thursday 16th June England are playing Wales in their second Group B match in the European Championship. After some thought we have decided that it would be sensible to finish at lunchtime on this day. This will give students plenty of time to get home and watch the match.”
“I recognise that some children are not particularly interested in football and some parents will not want their children to leave school at 12.40. To help with this, the Academy will remain open in the afternoon for students who wish to stay.”
The principal’s letter has caused quite a controversy amongst the school’s parents, who have described the decision as hypocritical. Craig Langman, chairman of the Parents Want A Say campaign has said, “parents do not want schools to stop providing extra-curricular activities for kids, for them to go skiing, day trips or to see football matches, but in an age when the state is giving fixed penalty notices it is hypocritical for them to say we can do this but you can’t because we are the educators and you are not. It feels like we are living in a dictatorship state. You have your child, you have four years with them, then you have to hand them over to the state and the state dictates when they can have time off, what they are learning.”
Parents also undoubtedly value their children’s education so it’s understandable that some parents are uncomfortable with the principal’s decision. However, by embracing the nation’s favourite sport and its upcoming summer festivities, the principal’s decision can also been regarded as a humane, well-spirited one – perhaps even a refreshing one. After all, you aren’t required to be a diehard football fan to enjoy this summer’s biggest sporting event. In terms of education, well, perhaps by having half a day off will educate the children about just how big this sporting event is for our country.
What’s your stance on this subject? Would you be in favour of your child skipping half a day of education for one of England’s (undoubtedly few) Euro matches?