Uproar from parents as ‘unhealthy’ items confiscated from school lunch box

Row over school lunch box contents. Library image.

Row over school lunch box contents. Library image. - Credit: Archant

Parents at a Colchester primary school have won talks with the headteacher over a healthy eating policy which saw food confiscated from some pupils.

There was uproar among some parents at Cherry Tree Primary School when one child had a Scotch egg taken away from their lunch box, while another had a Peperami confiscated.

The move came after a code outlining acceptable foods was reintroduced in a bid to get children eating more healthily.

One of those raising concerns was Vikki Laws, whose daughter Tori, seven, had the Peperami taken away from her.

Miss Laws, 28, said: “Children were so angry and and upset because they were being told they could not eat things in their packed lunch and they felt victimised and punished – especially when school dinners include pizza, chips and desserts such as chocolate mousse or sponge cake with icing.

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“Some children are going in with packed lunches with energy drinks, bottles of coke, big bags of crisps and seem to be getting away with it.

“We are not against the school, though perhaps they went about it in the wrong way, we are all for healthy eating – the problem is with the government guidelines they are going by, which need to change.

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“People need to learn to eat in moderation, not have things completely taken away. It should be down to the school to teach and us to parent, including choosing what our children eat.

“Our children usually have a sandwich, fruit and yoghurt, and we teach them to eat those first and then be rewarded with their treat.”

A school spokesman said: “Our healthy lunch box policy has been in place for some time and the majority of parents are very supportive of it.

“The decision to take steps to ensure pupils are adhering to the policy was taken following feedback from parents and as part of our drive to improve all areas of the school.

“Research shows children’s health and educational attainment are closely linked and we are committed to ensuring every pupil is given the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the classroom.

“It is important to emphasise that although the original policy stated unhealthy foods would be confiscated, this has not happened. Reminders and well done slips have instead been issued.”

Two meetings have now been organised later this month between the school and parents to discuss both school dinners and packed lunches, a move MIss Laws described as “a positive step”.

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