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Euro 2020 final: Schools open late and businesses close early for some as PM flies the flag from No 10

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Some schools in England have given permission for children to come in late on Monday and some businesses have adjusted their opening times because of the Euro 2020 final.

Leading the charge was Rossmere Primary School in Hartlepool, which announced on Facebook, in a post that went viral, that children could come in at 10.30am on Monday morning if they stay up late to watch the England v Italy game on Sunday night, calling the match a “learning experience”.

The final at Wembley Stadium will kick off at 8pm and should be over by 10pm if settled in 90 minutes but if it goes to extra time and potentially penalty shootouts it could finish closer to 11pm.

Harry Kane celebrates with teammates after he scores England's second goal
Image: The nation celebrated after Harry Kane scored the winning goal against Denmark in the semi-final on Wednesday

Other schools have quickly followed suit with some saying parents can choose for their kids to arrive at normal hours or have a lie-in.

The Sheffield primary school that striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin attended as a child has given the green light for a late morning on Monday.

Malin Bridge Primary School’s headmaster Robbie McGrath wrote in a letter to parents: “I’m sure that, like me, many of you are exceptionally excited about Sunday’s Euro 2020 (but in 2021) final.”

Mr McGrath added: “Consequently, we understand that parents may want to bring their children in late on Monday, as they will have had a late night.”

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He also paid tribute to Calvert-Lewin, saying the football holds “a special place in the hearts of the Malin Bridge community”.

“Seeing him be part of the squad alongside numerous other Sheffield and Yorkshire teammates fills us all with enormous pride,” Mr McGrath wrote

Coates Lane Primary School in Lancashire
Image: Coates Lane Primary School in Lancashire is letting children come in late on Monday

Coates Lane Primary School in Lancashire also gave parents the option to let the kids come in at 10.30am, saying on Facebook: “We would rather have children rested and in school ready to learn rather than absent all day or grumpy!”

Gemma Donnelly, headmistress at Braywick Court School in Bray, Berkshire, has also given children the option of a later start with a message on the school website calling the game, “a great family occasion”.

Gisburn Road Community Primary School gave the green-light for a lie-in too, before thanking nearby Rossmere primary for the idea.

Among those also joining the trend was Heathfield Primary School in Darlington which added that it will “allow children to wear red/white clothing, football shirts or non-uniform on Monday”.

The wave of schools offering time off has been gaining momentum over the past two days as ministers have come under pressure to grant a flexible start day on Monday, or even a bank holiday, so football fans can celebrate England’s victory or recover from their defeat.

A petition pushing for the day to be a bank holiday if England win has garnered more than 345,000 signatures as of 7.30pm on Friday.

Leading the way in terms of businesses is Co-op, Lidl and Tesco Express who have said they will adjust their opening hours in England so that workers can enjoy the final.

All 1,600 Tesco Express stores will close at 7.45pm on Sunday instead of the usual midnight, to allow workers to watch the game.

The Co-op said its 2,034 food stores across England would also close at 7.45pm on Sunday and its 24-hour petrol stations would close at 7.45pm, reopening at 11pm.

Chris Whitfield, Co-op’s chief operating officer, said: “We appreciate just how much this means to many of our store colleagues and we want them to be able to celebrate at home with their family and friends.”

Supermarket chain Lidl said that the opening times of its stores would be delayed by an hour on Monday if England win.

Many businesses have also offered workers a late start or the whole day off for football fans to nurse their hangovers.

09/07/2021. London, United Kingdom. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson showing his support for England. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street wishing the England football team good luck ahead of the Euro 2020 Championship final against Italy on Sunday at Wembley. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street
Image: The prime minister is ready for Sunday’s match. Pic: No. 10 Downing Street

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the game would be a “historic moment” for the country.

General secretary Frances O’Grady added: “Bosses should talk to their staff about flexible working arrangements ahead of Monday morning – perhaps allowing them to start later and claim back their time afterwards.

“And bosses should show flexibility too towards the 2.2 million workers who work on a Sunday – many of them key workers.

Britain's Boris Johnson poses on Downing Street with a flag ahead of the Euro 2020 final, in London, Britain July 9, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Image: Mr Johnson poses on Downing Street with a flag

“Many of them will want to watch the match, and they should be able to, either at work or by finishing early and making up the time.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be one of the millions of people geared up for Sunday night’s match, decorating the outside of Number 10 and waving the St George’s flag.

But a spokesman for the PM said: “We would want businesses who feel able to consider it (changing working times) if they can, but we recognise it will vary depending on the business and company.”

He added: “I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of Sunday’s match. Clearly we want England to go all the way and win the final, and then we will set out our plans in due course.”