What our children eat was back on the menu again last week as Shirley Manor Primary Academy in Bradford banned certain foods from its pupils’ lunchboxes. One child had a sausage roll confiscated from their packed lunch and replaced with a ham sandwich.
So, what exactly are the rules when it comes to food at school? There are legal requirements that each school must meet when it provides food and drink. You can read the full list of School Food Standards here, but the gist of it is that they must provide high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables, and bread, other cereals or potatoes. They are forbidden to provide drinks with added sugar, crisps, chocolate or sweets in meals or vending machines and school dinners can contain a maximum of two portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food each week.
But these rules apply only to food and drink the school itself provides. What about the food you pack for your child? Well, that’s where the waters get a little murky. There are no official government standards for this and every school is free to set its own policy. Most schools will have few rules, maybe a ban on fizzy drinks or similar. But some are much stricter. They can ban any type of food they wish and may even inspect every child’s lunchbox before they are allowed to eat.
The Bradford school mentioned at the beginning of this article may have gone too far. Its policy reads ‘Pork pies, sausage rolls… are high in salt and saturated fat. These items should not be included in a pupil’s packed lunchbox. If found a parent will be called. Desserts, cakes, biscuits and crisps… are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt… If a pupil has more than one of these items in their lunchbox they will be removed by staff and returned to the child at the end of the day.’
So, now you know the rules about food at school, is their anything else you’d like to know? What about the curriculums or the key stages? You can find the answers to questions on all things education in EQ’s Knowledge Bank. You’ll also see articles full of tips and advice on parenting, from raising happy children to helping with homework. If you’ve ever wanted to know something but have been afraid to ask, then Knowledge Bank is the place to go!
So, who should choose what our children eat? We all want them to be healthy but isn’t it up to the parents what they are fed? Is the occasional sausage roll really that harmful? Are the food police getting too enthusiastic and punishing our children for having the odd treat? What do you think? Let Education Quizzes know in the comments box below. Perhaps you think children need to eat more healthily, or maybe you believe that schools are being too strict. Whatever your opinion, we want to hear from you.