Sunday, February 02, 2014

Boy, six, suspended from school for four days after he was found to have a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox

Cheese is bad for you???

A six-year-old boy who went to school with a bag of Mini Cheddars in his packed lunch has been suspended for four days after teachers said it contravened its healthy eating policy.

Riley Pearson, from Colnbrook, near Slough, was excluded from Colnbrook C of E Primary School after teachers discovered the snack and called in his parents.

After a meeting with headmaster Jeremy Meek, they were sent a letter telling them Riley would be excluded from Wednesday until Monday because he had been 'continuously breaking school rules'.

The school, which was placed in special measures after Ofsted inspectors deemed it 'inadequate' in 2012, introduced a healthy eating policy at the start of term.

A letter was sent to parents saying that from 14 January, packed lunches should be 'healthy and balanced'.

Parents were told: 'Chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks are not allowed.   'If your child's lunchbox is unhealthy and unbalanced they will be provided with a school lunch for which you will be charged.'

Today Riley's mother, airport shuttle worker Natalie Mardle, 24, 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.'

Miss Mardle, who is expecting 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 lunchbox usually contains a sandwich, yoghurt tube, Dairylea Dunkers cheese spread snack, and a packet of Mini Cheddars, with water to drink.

His mother, who lives with his father, airport worker Tom Pearson, said the 3ft 9ins tall schoolboy who weighs 3st 2lbs, eats home-cooked meals and plenty of fruit and vegetables at home.

Miss Mardle said: 'I would understand the exclusion if he was constantly throwing tables around or bullying other children, but it is just ridiculous for a packet of Mini Cheddars.

'Surely the headteacher has better things to do with his time than search lunchboxes?'

Riley's parents, who both work at nearby Heathrow Airport, will be attending a meeting with the head on Tuesday to learn whether their son can return to the 290-pupil school.

Headteacher Mr Meek said the school had one family who 'do not agree with the policy.'  He 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.'  [Sanctimonious old git]


English is no longer the first language for the majority of pupils at ONE in NINE British schools

English is not the first language for the majority of children in more than one in nine schools, it has been reported.

Last year the majority of pupils in 1,755 primary and secondary schools spoke another language at home, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It said said that, in more than 200 schools, English is not the first language of nine in 10 pupils, with as many as 14 different languages being spoken.

At some schools children arrive at the age of five with no experience of using English, the newspaper claims.

The number of pupils who have English as their second language is reported to have risen by a fifth to almost 1.1million in the past five years.

Of the 10 schools with the highest proportion of children who do not speak English as their first language, all but two are outside London, and all but one are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, the schools watchdog.

The newspaper says schools have enlisted interpreters to help at parents' evenings and bilingual teaching assistants for reception classes.

Douglas Carswell, a backbench Tory MP, called for a "national debate", told the newspaper: "It's time for a national debate about the impact of social cohesion in Britain today. I want to make sure that we create first and second generation Britons."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "We are determined that all children, whatever their background get a first-class education.

"Our reforms to the education system, and the hard work of heads and teachers, are ensuring that is becoming the case - last week figures showed that a quarter of a million fewer children are being taught in failing secondary schools than three years ago."


British schools face surprise inspections if parents go online to complain about appalling behaviour

Surprise inspections will be targeted at schools where parents have complained online about appalling behaviour.

Ofsted will launch lightning visits without notice at primaries and secondaries that are failing to clampdown on unruly pupils from next week.

It will mean an end to the practice of giving a days’ notice to schools that routinely allow students to disrupt lessons and disrespect staff and classmates.

Schools will be selected on the basis of comments about discipline left by families on an online Ofsted questionnaire as well as evidence gathered from previous inspections.

Fifteen schools have already been identified and will be targeted by Ofsted in the coming months. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector of schools, said the measure was necessary to tackle a ‘culture of casual acceptance’ of low level disruption.

Around 700,000 pupils are attending schools where behaviour needs to improve. However, teaching unions yesterday said the system could be open to abuse, with some schools deliberately targeted by parents with personal gripes.

The new one-day behaviour visits will catch staff and pupils by surprise – after teachers in the past sent disruptive pupils on school trips or bribed them to behave on the day of an inspection. Data is gathered from Parent View – an online Ofsted facility that allows parents to give anonymous opinions about a school at any time, not just during an inspection.

During the inspections, officials will even observe children between lessons and after school and investigate how behaviour-related incidents are dealt with.

Reports will be published on the education watchdog’s website. If behaviour remains a problem, a full inspection could be brought forward. Sir Michael said that polling parents regularly showed that discipline and behaviour were their top concern, but often less of a priority for schools.

He said Ofsted was determined to crackdown on those who are failing to ‘get a grip’ on poor behaviour and make sure newly qualified teachers are able to work without facing daily problems with disruption.

But Kevin Courtney, of the National Union of Teachers, said that online reporting by parents could be ‘written in anger or through malice’. He said resolving difficulties was best achieved through direct communication between parents and teachers, adding: ‘The bull in a china shop approach of Ofsted solves nothing.’

Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that families could register for Parent View with a bogus email address and pursue a personal agenda.

He added: ‘But it’s not supposed to be a popularity contest either so if a head, for example, refuses a term time holiday or cracks down on uniform, it makes them a little bit unpopular to start with.  ‘One unpopular decision and schools could face harsh penalties.’

Chris Keates, of the NASUWT union, added: ‘Schools will want to know what the threshold will be, at which levels of concern from parents or inspectors are sufficient to trigger a behaviour inspection and the implications of Ofsted’s inspections.’

An Ofsted spokesman yesterday insisted that parental complaints alone will not lead to behaviour inspection.


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