A mum-of-three was left p-p-perplexed after her local primary slapped a lunchbox ban – on Penguin bars.
Parents are furious at a new healthy eating policy where all chocolate, crisps, biscuits – and even peanut butter – are confiscated from children’s packed lunches.
Mum Karen Dunne, 39, was stunned when her children Ryan, 11, and Alfie, six, were told off for having the popular Penguin bars.
She now puts a note in their lunchboxes every morning warning teachers not to interfere with their food.
Karen said teachers at Camps Hill Community Primary School in Stevenage, Herts., have ”no right” to tell parents how to feed their children.
”A couple of weeks ago the kids came back with a letter which said the school was changing its policy,” she said.
”We were told that all chocolate, crisps, biscuits and drinks would be confiscated from packed lunches and that the children would be provided with water.
”Even chocolate spread and peanut butter are banned.
”There was uproar at the school and a number of parents went to the head to complain that they hadn’t been consulted.
”Now children can take sugar-free fruit drinks to school and unhealthy items will be left with the child but they still won’t be allowed to eat it.
”But that’s not enough, we are still being told as parents what we can and can’t give our kids to eat. They have no right to do that.
”The teachers are looking in the children’s lunchboxes and picking items out – that’s what really angered me. It’s extremely unfair.”
Karen, who also has a 16-year-old son, usually makes up a packed lunch with a sandwich, biscuit bar, packet of crisps or a yoghurt and a fruit drink.
However, in January Camps Hill Primary School headteacher Clare McFlynn introduced a new healthy eating policy.
The new rules ban youngsters from chocolate bars, biscuits, crisps and sweet drinks from Monday to Thursday, while Friday is permitted.
If a child is found to have a banned item it is confiscated before being returned in the lunchbox at the end of the day.
The ban comes just one day after it emerged three-year-old children who eat junk food are likely to have a lower IQ by the age of eight-and-a-half.
Karen added: ”There are a lot of angry parents at the school and a lot of the younger children are scared to eat anything for fear of being told off.
”Everyday they have a pudding on the school dinner menu. Try telling a five-year-old that the boy next to them can have chocolate pudding but they can’t have a chocolate bar.
”They’ve got no right to tell parents how to feed their children.
”If there is an issue with a child’s behaviour because of food than they should deal with them individually, not take it out on the whole school.”
Headteacher Clare McFlynn claims that the majority of parents support the school’s efforts to promote healthy eating.
She said: ”Camps Hill School has healthy eating status and as part of our whole school approach we encourage children to have healthy and nutritious mid-day meal, including those who bring packed lunches from home.
”We promote every day as a healthy eating day, although on Friday crisps and chocolate are permitted.
”We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have had from parents in promoting the benefits of good eating habits as part of a healthy lifestyle which also encourages good concentration and learning in the school.”
New legislation to strip Ofsted of powers to inspect lunchboxes and other ”peripheral” issues was announced by education secretary Michael Gove on January 27 .
Under measures contained in the Education Bill Ofsted will judge schools on four key areas only – quality of teaching, leadership, pupils’ behaviour and achievement.