Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton school U-turn over Euro 2016 early closing

Oasis Academy, Lord's Hill Image copyright Google
Image caption The school reversed a decision to send pupils home at lunchtime

A school has reversed plans to allow pupils to go home early to watch a Euro 2016 match following criticism.

Oasis Academy Lord's Hill in Southampton planned to let pupils finish in time for the England v Wales football match on 16 June.

Term-time holiday campaigners had accused the school of "hypocrisy".

A statement from the principal later said it was "more appropriate" for them to stay in class, with the game screened in school time.

As reported in the Southern Daily Echo, principal Ian Golding initially wrote to parents stating: "Unless we are flexible with our times we will have people absent."

The letter said it would be "sensible" for the secondary school, in Romsey Road, to finish at lunchtime in time for the Euro 2016 game.

A statement from Mr Golding to reverse the decision said the school took attendance "extremely seriously".

He said such sporting events are "a cause for celebration and enjoyment" and suitable for pupils to watch in school time.

"As a community in which many of my students have a real passion for football, I will be facilitating the showing of the game during the last hour of school time for those who wish to watch it so that they too can experience it together," he said.

Among those who voiced criticism of the initial decision was campaigner Jon Platt from the Isle of Wight, who won a High Court ruling last month after refusing to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on an unauthorised term-time holiday.

He said: "I want to watch the game and I would enjoy the game even more if my little girl could be off school."

However, he still questioned the decision to allow the pupils leave when local education authorities are fining parents for unauthorised absences.

"I understand that there is a little bit of hypocrisy here because this school has fined parents in the past for taking their kids out of school for holidays - so they are going to come in for a bit of stick," Mr Platt added.

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