A school in Didcot, Oxfordshire has been called ‘draconian’ after it banned packed lunches and only allowed only gluten-free food, Halal meat, salads, and water. Many parents are feeling fury at Aureus School’s strict rule on its food policy.
Because all packed lunches are no longer allowed, students and staff sit down in the canteen to eat together. They can choose from eating a hot gluten-free, vegetarian meal, a salad, a hot Halal meat meal, a baguette, a jacket potato, or a pasta pot.
The school also wants pupils to drink only water within the vicinity because it helps them learn better by hydrating the brain. They also insisted that the Halal meat “celebrates the diversity of our country’s culture.”
However, many parents complained and said the food policy was ‘draconian’.
One father, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “We are thinking of taking her out of the school – it’s getting silly and more like a dictatorship. Their views are quite extreme.
“It’s about choice. It’s supposed to be an inclusive school, but they are only catering for one particular religion.”
He also said that the school thinks pupils wouldn’t get the same kind of nutrition at home, or they would only ingest unhealthy meals, which was ‘absolutely insulting’ for parents.
Executive headteacher Hannah Wilson said in an interview, “Food education closes the poverty gap and delicious, nutritious should be a universal entitlement.
“With all of the headlines about food banks and obesity, we are preparing students for healthy lifestyles in the future.”
Aureus School’s written FAQs addresses the implementations and states:
“When we eat well, we sleep well, when we sleep well, we perform well. We strive at Aureus to create good habits that will become lifelong routines.
“Sitting down to eat together once a day is an important part of our school culture and ethos.
“All staff sit and eat, but also bond and talk, with our students. These relationships are key in nurturing our school community.
“By ensuring that all students have access to a daily nutritious home-cooked family meal we ensure that all have this equality of opportunity.”
What’s your take on this? With the rate of obesity increasing, do you think that schools should ban packed lunches? Let us know in the comments section below!
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