London primary bans school dinner puddings because of high obesity rates and ‘irritable’ children

·2-min read

Sponge and custard, jam roly-poly and other traditional puddings have been banned at one London primary school because the sugar crash they cause makes pupils “irritable”.

Instead of hot desserts which have been served to school children for generations, students at Scott Wilkie Primary in Newham will receive fruit or yogurt with their lunch and a cereal bar for their morning snack.

Executive headteacher Keri Edge said the borough has the second highest levels of child obesity in London and schools had to think “more carefully” about the food and exercise they were offering students.

Ms Edge, who also extended teaching for an hour a day to help children catch up after lockdown, said the puddings were leaving students tired and irritable.

“After you leave school, in what other walk of life are you having high sugar puddings after lunch every day. The answer is nowhere,” she added.

“Newham has one of the highest levels of obese children in the country and we need to think more carefully about the amount of and kind of food and exercise we are offering our children.

“Our children used to sit down with their main meal and pudding and while backs were turned would eat the pudding before the main.

“This has taken away that problem and has given children more time to be outside playing with their friends.

“Even as adults, if we have a heavy lunch time meal then we are generally not good for too much in the afternoon. For children it is even more pronounced.

“We found they were tired and irritable in the afternoon because they have had the sweet pudding but then had a huge sugar crash.

“Naturally this is going to impact on their education, their capacity to learn and retain information and their general enjoyment of school.”

The move comes almost two decades after Jamie Oliver reinvented school lunches across Britain.

The celebrity chef made it his mission to ban turkey twizzlers and chicken nuggets and replace them with healthy alternatives .

Last year Glasgow City Council also axed sugary puddings from its schools.

Ms Edge said some parents initially raised concerns about the plans, but have now backed the scheme because child engagement has improved.

She added: “We have a very strong relationship with our parents and they trust in our expertise when it comes to educating their children

“We have a very strong academic track record but we also care deeply about the welfare and wellbeing of our children.

“Eating sweet puddings every week day is just not good for you, if you are a child or an adult.”

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