How one Hartlepool school became a worldwide viral sensation ahead of Euro 2020 final
The generous offer from a Hartlepool school quickly went viral.
The school day at Rossmere Primary, in Hartlepool’s Catcote Road, usually starts at 8.40am with doors closing at 9am.
But, in recognition of the historic Euro 2020 final taking place on Sunday night, pupils will be allowed to come in at any time up till 10.30am on the Monday and won’t be marked in as late.
The school’s generous offer caused a stir online, attracting more than 3,000 comments and more than 40,000 shares at the time of writing, with media outlets in Spain and the Netherlands reporting on it as well.
Headteacher Caroline Reed has said the school thought the post was only going to be read by the parents and didn’t realise “it was going to be shared four million times around the world.”
She said: "It’s not something you expect from a small primary school in the North of England.
"I’ve had reactions and messages from schools all around the country to say ‘great idea, we are now doing the same thing’.”
She added: "Because it’s that little bit of recognition for families that we do understand that they’ve had a very difficult year and they need that time to celebrate or commiserate with their children.
"No matter what happens, whether we win or we lose, it’s going to be an emotional night for the whole country.”
With the England versus Italy game beginning at 8pm, the possibility of extra-time, penalties and a delayed trophy presentation means TV coverage may continue beyond 11pm.
Mrs Reed has said the school decided to offer flexibility to pupils and parents after seeing how tired the children were following the semi-final on Wednesday.
She said: "The children were so tired, but so excited after the semi-final, because obviously they stayed up really late.
"We thought it would be exactly the same on Monday or potentially even worse.
"We didn’t want parents to have that worry of should they let their eight-year-old stay up till 11 o’clock and they have to get up early in the morning.
"We wanted to give flexibility and an offer so if their child wanted to stay in bed a bit longer in the morning to enjoy the match the night before, they could do, but school would still be open as normal for children that wanted to come in on time.”
After the stunning reaction, Mrs Reed has stressed pupils won’t be missing out on any lessons.
She said: "A few people were making negative comments asking ‘why are you giving the children the day off when they’ve missed so much learning.’
"I think what people missed the point of is nobody is giving anybody the day off. We’re giving flexibility on the start time, which is completely different.
"And also, this is a learning experience for the children.
"They’ll be watching the national anthem, watching the national team, listening to the commentary, looking at the resilience of the England players.”
She added: "An hour-and-half late in the morning is far better than having the whole day off school.
"As long as they’re in by 10.30am, they won’t miss anything important and they won’t be marked in as late.
"It’s just one day, isn’t it, and it took us 55 years to do this.”