Hall Mead Secondary School in Upminster, east London, has given permission for pupils to leave school at 1.30pm next Thursday to watch the big match which kicks off at 2pm.
Letters were sent to parents from headmaster Simon London, hailing the upcoming fixture as “the biggest group game of the tournament” and stating that families who may wish to watch the game together should have the option to do so.
The school insists it would not be a problem for parents who aren’t able to get time off work since the game will also be shown in the school hall for those pupils who are unable or unwilling to go home.
However, the decision has divided opinion among parents.
Many argued that it is hypocritical for pupils to be allowed time off to watch football, but to still be refused holidays during term time.
One parent who commented on the community Facebook page said: “Please tell me why it is not okay for a parent to take their child out of school for recreation/holiday but it is okay for a school to shut up shop to watch the football?”
But others were quick to disagree with with one parent saying: “Two hours off to watch a football match isn’t the same as two weeks off on holiday, is it?”
Pupils doing their exams would not need to worry either, since there would be a number of revision sessions and other activities ongoing during the day for those children that don’t want to watch the football as staff won’t be leaving the school site.
End of year English exams for Year 9s would have to be rescheduled due to these plans.
But headteacher Simon London, says that watching the football with family is a part of the school ethos.
Mr London said: “We are more than just an exam factory,
“We place a lot of emphasis on building relationships and shared experiences, and we felt that allowing pupils to watch the game with their families, if they wanted to, was a great way for them to make memories.”
The unusual move comes just a couple of weeks after the employment conciliation service ACAS suggested employers should allow staff more flexible working hours during the tournament so they could watch the games.