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Healthy schools and schools dictating lunchbox contents...

Discussion in 'Primary' started by YOI_Teacher, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Quick question...
    We all know schools are working to achieve/achieved healthy schools status to varying degrees...
    BUT legally where does a school and a parent stand with regards home/packed lunches...
    Surely giving ADVICE about sitable lunch contents is one thing - telling children they are not allowed to eat certain items is another? Likewise pointing out that one child has an "unhealthy" lunchbox in front of other children is surely against the whole principle of education that we work towards and indeed the childre's/parent's human rights...???
    Anyway - I just wish to know are there any legalities involved here? Would a school "stopping" a child consume certain items being breaking any laws? Are schools allowed to do this? Or is it merely a case of it hasn't yet been directly challenged?
    Not even mentioning the hypocrisy of let's say larger than life unhealthy members of staff telling the children they shouldn't/aren't allowed to be eating their lunches this whilst eating their chocolate sponge and custard from the school dinners provided!!!

    Thanks in anticipation of some helpful replies...
  2. We have a VERY strict regime in our school.

    Packed lunches are strict - no sweets, chocolate, crisps, cheese strings, dunkers, fruit roll ups, granola bars or anything of that kind of thing, cereal bars.

    Children are allowed - fruit, sandwich, pasta, crackers if they like a 'pudding' is provided for them from the kitchen at no cost.

    As for us we are not allowed to eat unhealthily in front of the children - school trips we (staff) are not allowed crisps, fizzy drinks, bars of chocolate etc. We must eat a 'healthy' lunch.

    On trips the school provide the children with lunch - 1 sandwich, fruit and a drink (usually carton orange or water) - they used to get biscuits but the head took them away.

    The parent know the score - if the lunch is deemed too un healthy it is taken off them and they are provided with a school meal which the parents then have to pay for.

    (I hope the paragraphs appear, they prob wont as I am on a mac)
  3. We have a fairly strict regime as well. No sweetened drinks, choc bars, peanut butter. We praise those with what we consider to be 'healthy' lunch boxes. I do agree with the first poster we should be setting the example. I do get fed up with the constant supply of cakes in the staff room!
  4. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    The children aren't in our staffroom so they don't know what we're eating! I'm very happy to see cakes etc in our staffroom. We don't dictate to parents to that extent but we don't allow nuts because of allergies and I don't think fizzy drinks are allowed. Our children are allowed chocolate, cakes etc in their lunchboxes but we have occasionally had to speak to parents because there's only chocolate and sweets in the lunchbox - nothing else!
    If OFSTED's remit is slimmed down as Gove has implied and schools are no longer being judged on the contents of children's lunchboxes I expect the days of staff checking them to come to an end.
  5. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Sorry, OP, just realised that I've not answered your question. Re: legalities, I really don't know! It would be interesting to see what would happen if it was challenged in law.
    Are you the parent of the child in question? If so, perhaps you could speak to the head or one of your parent governors. To begin with, I'd ask to see a copy of the school policy
    This definitely won't be illegal but I personally wouldn't do it. Re: the examples I mentioned before of lunchboxes with nothing nutritious in them at all - a discrete word with the parent is the best way of dealing with it but that is just my professional opinion.
  6. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul Occasional commenter

    And a good thing too, since it's not the school's business to decide what parents put in their child's lunchbox.
  7. I think it is absolutely ludicrous for schools to be dictating what should and should not be in a child's lunchbox. I'm all for giving advice about healthy choices but that is where the line should be drawn. If a parent wants to fill their child with unhealthy junk then surely that is their decision to make?
    Our school follows the policy of removing items from lunchboxes etc and banning a long list of foods from the dinner hall. We have been told that when Ofsted come we must have healthy lunches in the staffroom etc. I always eat healthily at work, but you can guarantee that when we do get the call I will be taking in a feast of the most unhealthy stuff I can find, as I will not be dictated to as an adult about what I can and can't eat!
  8. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    There is nothing unhealthy about eating a pack of crisps or a bar of chocolate. Eating them every day is unhealthy. Eating seeds all day is jolly unhealthy too. Surely children should be taught about having a balanced diet. And the odd treat is perfectly healthy for body and mind.
  9. This is appalling! Whilst I am of the opinion that lots of kids eat nothing but ****, and it's doing them harm, I do think this is far too extreme. I wouldn't survive if all I ate was a sandwich and some fruit. I like a cereal bar and a baby bel or something. As a parent I'd be quite cross about your "regime".
  10. Sorry OP- still not answering your question but if we had a parent come in and complain we would always let them have their own way- they are the paretns., after all. E.g. in key stage 1 in my school children are only allowed fruit for snack. We had some parental complaints so now those chilkdren are allowed rice krispie squares and such like. It is their choice.
    Becky- out of interest, how exactly do you broach the subject with a parent?
  11. Weren't your lot defeated in 1945? You have absolutely no right to tell parents what their children can and cannot eat. you have even less right to stop them from eating it. And as for staff lunchboxes being vetted by the SMT, I must check the date of this post in case it was April 1st.
  12. The Law

    Section 512 of the Education Act 1996, as amended by section 201 of the Education Act 2002 requires a Local Authority (LA) or governing body to provide facilities for pupils not taking school meals, to eat meals that they bring to school free of charge.

    Looking a pupil's lunchbox could be considered to be searching a pupil's possessions, but not searching a pupil, and therefore not illegal.

    As for confiscating a lunch, giving a child a "healthy lunch" and then charging for it, as a parent, I would tell the school to whistle for its payment as the meal was unsolicited. Under the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971, (as amended) it is an offence to demand payment for goods known to be unsolicited, in other words, they were sent to a person without any prior request made by them or on their behalf.

    Someone who receives goods in these circumstances may retain them as an unconditional gift, and does not have to pay for or return any unwanted goods. Anyone who receives a demand for payment for unsolicited goods should report the matter to their local Trading Standards Department.
  13. I didn't know the law but was pretty sure before reading this, that if the school chose to give a child a meal, even though their parents had provided them with a lunch, they could not then expect payment for it.
    Surely that poster must be winding us up?!
  14. Well, if not and they get away with doing this, the possibilities are endless!! I will give every child in my class a naff treat from the treat box, followed by an invoice for a tenner a prize.

    Then, as a precedent has been set making my judgement superior to the parents', I will start giving haircuts to kids with hairstyles I don't like; I will remove shoeslaces and superglue velcro to all shoes and finally I will hire taxis (at the parents' expense) to take all the kids home by 2pm as I think they should be in bed by then.
  15. Then charge the parents £15- I like! ;-) I have a boy in particular with long straggly hair- he has no right to have hair like that... ;-))
  16. Now this is what I went into education for.
  17. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Surely you're joking about some of those items. No cheese strings, fruit roll ups or granola bars?

  18. Thank you for all the comments about our school packed lunches - and I agree! I did not write, help or support the policy in any way! And no I am not joking and what surprises me is that parents have just gone along with it, I thought there would be more of an uproar to be honest - its been in place for 2 years now!
    I do not agree with our packed lunch policy at all !!! I think it is wrong and we are sending the wrong message to our pupils and students. A staff member was pulled into the office after a school trip and told off for eating crisps in front of a pupil.
    Our head is one who rules the roost - we do as we are told, the packed lunch policy was not discussed by staff we were told what it was.
    Although the lady from the LA has praised our policy and wishes more schools adopted our policy eeeek!
  19. A lunch that does not follow the policy is returned home and the child recieves a 'healthy' hot lunch at no charge (the first time!)
    We have had this discussion in our staff room - a trip to the zoo on a sandwich, drink and fruit is hard going especially when you are walking all day! I bought my group a lolly ice!
    I am honestly not winding you up - this is the way it is at my school -
  20. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Not had to do it myself yet - strangely it has been parents of our EAL children. We are lucky enough to have a few staff who speak their home language so they have broached it.

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