Scotland’s first Euro 2020 kicks off during the school day but should pupils who have never seen the national team in action in a major tournament be allowed to tune in?
Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell certainly thinks they should be – he has written to the Scottish Government urging them to show the fixture against Czech Republic during lessons.
The national side will begin their first international competition in more than 20 years at 2pm on Monday.
After that Steve Clarke’s men face Croatia and England with those matches starting at 8pm on Friday 18 and Tuesday 22 respectively.
SFA boss issues plea to screen game in schools
In a letter to the education secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville Mr Maxwell wants schoolchildren to be able to get the chance to cheer on captain Andy Robertson and his team mates at Hampden.
Mr Maxwell said: “With Uefa Euro 2020 fast approaching and our men’s A squad returning to a major tournament for the first time in 23 years, we want to use this as an opportunity to inspire the nation through our new strategy the ‘Power of Football’,” wrote Maxwell.
“We know the last year has been challenging for everyone, in particular children, and we hope that with the first game against the Czech Republic we can help inspire a nation. At 2pm on June 14 we are encouraging schools all over Scotland to watch our opening game in the classroom and help us cheer the nation on.”
But after so many years of missing out, the team will have the full backing and support of the nation for games against the Czech Republic on Monday, England on the Friday and their final group stage match against Croatia on the 22nd of June.
Politicians call on local authorities to show opening fixture
Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn has written to the city council’s chief executive Angela Scott asking for the fixture to be shown.
He is demanding that schools across the Granite City are given the chance to watch captain Andy Robertson and his team in action against a side ranked 40th in the world.
Mr Flynn wrote: “For a generation of young people this is the first time that they will be able to watch the men’s team in action at the European Championships and this is an opportunity for football to inspire the nation and hopefully give everyone something to cheer about.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone, particularly our young people, and I would encourage you to allow schools all over Aberdeen to watch our opening game in the classroom.”
Moray Council said no arrangements for watching the fixture have been made in their schools but the region’s MSP Richard Lochhead feels children deserve a chance to see it.
He said after a “tough year” pupils should get the chance to see the men’s team appear in the Euros.
He said: “I think it would be good if Moray’s schools could give pupils who want to watch the big game on Monday in the Euros the chance to do so.
“It’s been a tough year for our kids and it’s Scotland first big tournament for 23 years so it’s their first-ever opportunity to see their national men’s team play in a major tournament.”
Councils set out their stall for showing match in class
In Aberdeen, Loirston School will be showing the first half of the match with pupils and staff also being urged to wear Scotland colours to school.
The Cove primary has been learning about the history of Scotland’s national team and the tournament in recent weeks.
Councillor M Taqueer Malik, Aberdeen City Council’s education operational delivery convener, said he expects some heads to allow pupils to watch the game in class.
He said: “While we don’t have an official policy on provisions for pupils watching the match during school hours, I’m sure that one or two of our head teachers will be using their discretion, as at Loirston, to let our children and young people cheer on Scotland when they kick off on Monday.”
Vincent Docherty, Aberdeenshire Council’s head of education, it was entirely down to school bosses if they screen the match.
He said: “It is at the discretion of individual schools whether or not sporting events taking place during the school day are broadcast in classrooms.
“Whilst sport can be viewed as a cultural experience, teachers should also be mindful not all children and young people are interested, so any decision must be taken on its merits.”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “The Highland Council has a devolved school management of over 200 schools across the Highland region.
“Therefore, decisions on watching sporting events are made at a local school level.”