The big match is at 2pm – what does a headteacher do?

Euro 2020 daytime matches could present headaches for schools – but many plan to embrace the football

Henry Hepburn

Euro 2020: The big match is at 2pm – what does a school headteacher do?

Scotland’s men’s football team, after qualifying in dramatic circumstances for Euro 2020 last November, will play their first match at a major tournament for 23 years on Monday.

Which presents something of an issue for schools – because kick-off is at 2pm.

Given the potential for, ahem, “attendance issues”, what does a headteacher do?

Should they:

  1. Embrace it and show the game (applying Covid safety protocols, of course).

  2. Advise staff to carry on almost as normal, but turn a blind eye to the constant bobbing of heads towards screens under desks.

  3. Pretend it’s not happening and come down hard on anyone who claims it is, because football’s rubbish anyway.

It seems as if many schools are planning to embrace the (now) rare occasion of Scotland making a big tournament. Some are showing the match, organising themed days and ingenious football-related fundraisers, and even finding ways to link Euro 2020 to curriculum topics.

Some have said that, after everything school staff and pupils have been through with Covid, the opportunity to share in an occasion like this should not be missed.


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One teacher in the Highlands, responding to a Tes Scotland tweet about the conundrum facing schools, said: "I'd hope  this year more than ever  any headteacher would down tools with the whole school community and enjoy the match."

Euro 2020 football fever hits schools in Scotland

Some heads said they would show the match, while others gave details of themed days they had planned with staff and pupils wearing blue and enjoying Scottish delicacies, including Irn Bru slushies.

Morgan Academy in Dundee, meanwhile, has hit upon the idea of allowing the match to be watched in classes, but only if £500 can be raised towards the cost of a school defibrillator.

Another teacher tweeted: "My son came home and said they were getting a special treat in the class. They're getting to watch the game he's P4 and loving it. Teacher has made it link to geography topic genius!"

Billy Burke, headteacher at Renfrew High School, tweeted that the opening Scotland match against the Czech Republic on Monday was "a moment in history not to be missed". He added: "We can't pack out our theatre due to [Covid] restrictions, but we'll be cheering on the boys in classrooms around the school."

Colin Johnson, headteacher at Gryffe High, also in Renfrewshire, told Tes Scotland today that he had just come from the school's music department, where a full class was playing a range of instruments to Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, the 1977 kitsch classic by Baccara that has become the unlikely anthem of the current Scotland team.

Mr Johnson added: "We are considering a 'Euro-style' non-uniform day, with any voluntary proceeds going to charity, with prizes for best Euro theme outfit...We aim to have the option of pupils watching the game – when I asked the class if they would like that, they got extremely excited.

"We need the fun back and this gives us a great opportunity."

John Rutter, headteacher at Inverness High School, said the match had been discussed by staff, and that "I dare say there will be a few screens around the school with the match on  and some tactical ignoring (or more blatant viewing) on my part".

Another secondary head told Tes Scotland simply: "I think we might be quiet in the afternoon."

And, pre-empting such a scenario, one physics teacher tweeted: "Anyone who misses their triple period with me on that day will find all the work on Google Classroom."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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