Tales From the Heads Office #5
Having retired as a primary head teacher & following the suggestion of my dear friend Paula this post is part of an occasional series about the highs & lows of my headship career. It spanned 13 years & included 3 schools. I hope you enjoy my tales!
My dear friend Chris over at Thinly Spread started a conversation on Twitter when England were playing Algeria. Some schools in her area have announced that they would be closing early on Wednesday because England will be playing Slovenia at 3pm. She was interested in opinions.
Well, following my post ‘Attendance’ I have to say that this is just not on! The most important thing is for children to be in school & to understand that is where they should be. That is the mantra of schools all over the country. However, because we have 11 men chasing a coloured ball that does not bounce in the right way (that’s what they have said!) children are being encouraged to miss school.
When was the law passed that football was the religion to be followed by all of us living in England? Surely that is the only excuse, well apart from royal weddings & funerals, when schools are allowed to close early or have the day off.
In 2002 when the world cup was held in Japan & South Korea the start of the games was early in the morning. As a school we had a real problem with attendance & knew if the children stayed at home to watch the match, they would not come in later. So, we arranged to have a couple of TVs in the Hall. We also put on free breakfasts (this was well before breakfast clubs). We also sent messages to parents that if children did not come into school their attendance would be unauthorised. I think we may have mentioned some other threat such as not going on the class trip as well (!)but the result was they all came in. The atmosphere in Hall was amazing! A couple of staff put up flags & banners & the children cheered & clapped & were proper supporters. It meant that those who did not like football (yes there are such beings) were able to come into school as normal & get on with their day.
What I find so worrying as well annoying about all this is the way football has been imposed on our lives. Those of you who follow my blog will know that I’m married to someone who plays football & is a football fan. I quite enjoy a good game & we do go to matches. So the game is not foreign to me. However, I want children to get a balanced view of the world & especially of sport. They should try all sorts but this obsession with football means that they will not get this. It also means that for schools there is little opportunity for them to do this because ‘they only want to play football’!
By closing school or allowing children to leave early to watch a football match sends completely the wrong message & should not be happening! They do not get time off for Wimbledon or the Olympics!
Is your school closing early? Are your children keen to see the match (especially after the last performance!)