One headteacher in the island has asked her pupils’ parents not to bring in cakes or sweets for birthdays.
Rushen Primary School acted after a number of concerns were raised by parents over the health of their children.
Suzanne Owens, who has been headteacher of the school since 2017, sent a letter to parents, which said: ‘I have been contacted by parents asking us to review parents’ arrangements for children bringing sweets, cakes, biscuits etc. to school to celebrate events, including birthdays.’
The letter said that some parents were concerned about the amount of sweet items that children receive at school, which in some classes can be 30 times a year.
Some parents felt pressure either from other parents or from their children to provide sweets and cakes etc for the whole class for a birthday celebration.
The letter added: ‘As we are a school that promotes healthy eating, healthy snacks etc, the staff have reviewed our policy.
‘We do have times of the year where treats are shared in school such as during our bake offs, Christmas parties, celebrations and other events that may occur. This will continue.
‘On balance, it is clear that what started out as a few sweets has turned into a much bigger thing.
‘Please do not send sweets in for your child’s birthday or celebration.
‘We encourage you to provide sweets and snacks when you invite children to a party, celebration or event outside school.
‘I know that some of you will be disappointed and disagree, but after considering the whole situation, we have decided to move to this policy.’
It adds: ‘We appreciate your support in advance and we will continue to celebrate the children’s important moments and successes.’
It comes at a time where the food that children have been eating at schools has been put under the spotlight.
In a recent written Tynwald response, it was revealed that 15% to 29% of the food in school meals were ultra-processed, depending on the school.
For primary schools, 15.5% of the school meals were ultra-processed.
The responsibility of the meals across primary schools in the island lies with the Department of Education, Sport and Culture.
In this response, the Department of Education, Sport and Children, said that fizzy drinks, deep fried food items, confectionery items such as chocolate bars, crisps or sweets are not available within primary schools.