"Allergy girl told off for eating low-fat snack.
A mum believes her daughter is being discriminated against at her school - because of her dietary needs. AG says her daughter N, 11, who has wheat allergy and attends X school, was told she could not have her low-fat crisps as a lunchtime snack because they were not allowed under the school's healthy-eating policy....
N suffered seven painful years with Irritable Bowel Syndrome before she was diagnosed with the allergy. Since her diet change, her IBS has calmed.
Her packed lunch now consists of wheat-free pitta bread with ham or chicken, a rice crisp bar, a packet of low-fat crisps and fruit...AG said her daughter used to be overweight but she worked with Havering PCT's junior weight programme and lost 2 st in nine weeks last year."
This is from my local paper this week. One might see the point to a school encouraging healthy eating in the food it provides for its school meals, but it gets a bit alarming to see that being extended to monitoring the packed lunches of pupils. The paper's report ends with the paragraph:
"A Havering Council spokesman said: 'The school has offered to arrange a meeting with AG and invite a dietician to help them discuss the matter and find healthy eating alternatives'."
So it is not just a case of a member of staff at the school saying something when they are unfamiliar with the medical background - it looks like a policy being enforced. One would have thought the school could recognise the special need relating to this pupil, particularly given the medical history and previous collaboration with health initiatives.
But, of course, OFSTED now report on how well pupils in a school adopt healthy lifestyles (the "be healthy" strand of the Every Child Matters framework, which includes a measure relating to how many young people are eating their "5 portions a day"), and what they eat at school is an easily measurable aspect of this. I wonder if this is influencing this school's approach here?