Mum banned from children’s school after protesting against new healthy eating rules

A mum in Stoke-on-Trent has been banned from entering her children’s primary school after revolting against their new healthy eating rules.

Bernadette Finnegan, 48, complained about the new policy at Abbey Hulton Primary School, and protested against it outside the gates with other parents.

The mum revealed to local newspaper The Sentinel that she was due to meet the school’s headteacher when she received a text that said she was banned from the premises.

The text read: ‘Following legal advice we are issuing you with an interim ban from the premises immediately, a letter outlining the details will follow.’

The mum, who has two children at the school – 11-year-old daughter Caitlin in Year Six and son Callum, aged nine, in Year Five – was protesting against the school’s new healthy eating rules, which have banned parents from including certain foods in their children’s lunch boxes.

The banned items include chocolate bars, sweets, sausage rolls, cereal bars, flavoured water and cans of pop.

The school suggests that instead parents send one portion of fruit, vegetables, a sandwich, rice or pasta, and milk, cheese or yogurt, as well as a bottle of water each day.

However, the school has also been accused of discrimination, as children who don’t have packed lunches and opt for the school dinners can have battered fish and chips, cheese oatcakes and double chocolate chip muffins – all of which feature on the menu.

The new policy was communicated to parents with a letter sent by headteacher Linda Williams, which read: ‘City Catering provides us with delicious, healthy hot meals or sandwiches for all our children. The meals consist of a main meal, a side dish, a dessert and a drink – all of which are in line with our healthy-eating policy.

‘We appreciate some children prefer to bring their own packed lunch. We would like to remind you that it too should be a healthy selection. To keep in line with policies and healthy-eating schemes, we offer children water or milk to drink. We would therefore please ask you to only send in water (not flavoured water) for the children to drink.’

Branding the new rules as ‘ridiculous’, Bernadette said of the ban: ‘This ridiculous rule has led to this and I think it’s absolutely disgusting.

‘I wanted a reasonable meeting to discuss this matter and that isn’t happening now as I’m not allowed to step foot on the school grounds. It’s just petty.’

When contacted by the paper, a Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said: ‘We would always hope that schools and parents can resolve disputes amicably. As an employer we do not tolerate the abuse or intimidation of our staff.’

What do you think of the school’s new healthy eating rules? Do you agree? Let us know on the comments!