Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Mini Cheddars ban: Six-year-old schoolboy suspended for having cheesy snack in lunchbox

Parents of a six-year-old boy have criticised his school after the child was suspended for four days – for having a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox
Parents of a six-year-old boy have criticised his school after the child was suspended for four days – for having a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox

Senior staff at Colnbrook C of E Primary School decided that six-year-old Riley Pearson should be kept way from lessons for continually flouting its healthy eating policy with his choice of cheesy snack.

The school, near Slough, had implemented a healthy eating plan from the beginning of term, which asked parents to provide a balanced meal and refrain from giving their children chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks.

 

But after a meeting with head teacher Jeremy Meek, Riley’s parents were told that they had been “continuously breaking school rules” and were sent a letter saying that the child would be suspended from Wednesday until Monday.

 

The school, which was placed in special measures after Ofsted deemed it inadequate in 2012, sent a letter to parents in January asking that packed lunches be "healthy and balanced.”

 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Riley’s mother, airport shuttle worker Natalie Mardle, said: “We just do not see how they have the right to tell us what we can feed our son.

 

“If anything, Riley is underweight and could do with putting on a few pounds.”

 

The 24-year-old, who is pregnant with her fourth child, added: “ Having a balanced diet also includes eating some carbohydrates, sugars and fats.

 

“It is not about excluding some foods, it is about getting the mix right.”

 

Riley’s lunch usually consists of a sandwich, yoghurt tube, Dairylea Dunkers cheese spread snack, a packet of Mini Cheddars, and water.

 

Miss Mardle, who lives with Riley’s father, airport worker Tom Pearson, said Riley eats healthy, well-balanced meals at home.

 

The pair will be attending a further meeting with head teacher Mr Meek on Tuesday to learn whether their son can return to the school.

 

Mr Meek said: “We have had a wonderful response and the parents and children are on board and pleased with the way the policy has been impacted on our pupils.

 

“We cannot talk about individual circumstances, but there is one family who are not prepared to support the policy.

 

“We are in discussions with them about how we move it forward. We have excluded [the pupil] for four days due to lack of support for the policy.

 

“It is to avoid putting the children in a difficult situation. If the policy is not being abided by, then that potentially harms that pupil.”

UPDATE: Boy expelled from school

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