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School's duty of care to children.

(32 Posts)
Scabetty Tue 07-Jun-16 19:42:24

One of the parents in ks1 told me this morning she has told the school her 5 yo is fasting for Ramadan and they are allowing him to not eat or drink during the school day. She said it was his choice. I am shicked the school has agreed to this. I know it isn't expected of such young children. Is the school failing in their duty of care?

StealthPolarBear Tue 07-Jun-16 19:44:09

Interesting thread. I tend to agree with you I think. Surely it can't be good for such little children to fast and thay is entirely why they don't need to!

StealthPolarBear Tue 07-Jun-16 19:44:38

I remember my friend doing it ut she will have been older, early teens

callherwillow Tue 07-Jun-16 19:45:02

I thought children below a certain age were exempt?

That said, I used to worry about teenagers on sports day.

InformalMother Tue 07-Jun-16 19:46:14

When else would you be allowed to not give your 5 year food or drink all day?

I don't care if it's for religious reasons, it's neglect at that age.

Lilaclily Tue 07-Jun-16 19:46:40

I'm sure there are strict rules regarding this
It could be the child is having a massive breakfast and doing a minutature fast/ Ramadan, eating for a large meal as soon as they get home

LunaLoveg00d Tue 07-Jun-16 19:48:54

i think this may come down to the individual families as there are two Muslim children in my son's class (he is 10), one is fasting and one isn't.

readytorage Tue 07-Jun-16 19:49:19

I work with and I'm friends with some Muslim girls and they've always said from about 9/10 they were allowed to fast but even that young it's not enforced strictly.

I'm not Muslim and I'm not passing any judgement on Ramadan but I think 5 years old is too young to go without food and water. Here in Scotland, Ramadan is particularly difficult at this time as the sunrise and sunset is very early and very late at night - well after 10 o'clock so not only would the child not be eating, they'd be up very very late in order to finally have dinner.

That said, it's not my faith so maybe it is the done thing

StealthPolarBear Tue 07-Jun-16 19:49:53

If theyre doing it properly surely that also means at this time of year they can't be getting enough sleep too? My 9 year old is asleep when it's still light and wakes up to broad daylight too.

tshirtsuntan Tue 07-Jun-16 19:50:39

I work in a primary school and only year six are allowed to fast during the school day.

wheresthel1ght Tue 07-Jun-16 19:52:02

I suspect he is doing a watered down version as suggested above. I used to teach a little boy who observed Ramadan at age 6. He was very capable of explaining why and that he had been told not to by his family but it was important to him. His parents ensured he had breakfast and dinner about 6pm. We always had water available in case he wanted to have some.

Yabu to assume that he parents have made the decision lightly or to judge when not in full command of the facts.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 07-Jun-16 19:52:53

Not drinking in this heat is dangerous for young children and not eating is also not healthy for children.
Fasting should only be allowed for over 16's able to make their own decision .

GettingScaredNow Tue 07-Jun-16 19:57:25

There isn't any particular age that it starts from. It's at the families discretion really.

Someone lo a to me has a 7 yr old daughter. She is fasting for 1 hour in the morning and that's it.
My STBXH's nephew is about 9 and he fasts til lunchtime so skips breakfast basically.

I can't get behind the idea with school age children. Something STBXH and I have always disagreed over as I said I would not allow Dd to fast whilst she is at school as its of no benefit and will damage her learning m.
That's my opinion but I do see his argument that if you are a family that practises the religion then there is the experience and spiritual learning side (much like the argument for term time holidays being affordable and worldly learning)

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Jun-16 20:11:03

Nonsense, kids are allowed water.

Scabetty Tue 07-Jun-16 20:11:03

I live in a very multicultural area and most schools accept yr 5 & 6 children fasting. The policy varies for younger children but generally if they are in school over the lunch period they will be given a meal.

The child in question attends a less multicultural school so I am guessing there is no policy in place at the moment so have simply agreed.

Ellie06 Tue 07-Jun-16 20:14:24

The school can't directly go against the wishes of the parents, imagine the daily mail news story! However they will have safe guarding team and any concerns will have been passed on and dealt with appropriately.

Scabetty Tue 07-Jun-16 20:18:25

Ellie06, yes they can as per a written policy on this. My children can't fast till at least yr 5 unless I take them home for lunch.

FledglingFridge Tue 07-Jun-16 20:21:47

It's fucking stupid.

The school can't directly go against the wishes of the parents

They should, the school acts in place of parents while they are there. I expect them to get my kids medical treatment if they need it, even if I'm not there to say yes. They should offer the child food and water.

We have a mosque locally and it's great. Really lovely community around it, lovely people, and we always wish our neighbours well as we know it's a difficult time for them with the weather being so warm and the days so long.

But when your beliefs mean you either enforce or lead a child into believing not eating or drinking when it's light is a good idea you need your head looked at.

helpbuyingahouse Tue 07-Jun-16 20:24:16

Surely there must be Government's guidelines on this? A 5 year old FASTING and maybe not drinking water?

I would ask the Headmaster for guidance, it sounds wrong.

I understand maybe not eating dessert at school for the month but complete fasting no way.

Please tell the headmaster pronto and maybe ask him to put in a call to social services. Sorry, totally unacceptable and multiculturalism taken to the extreme by our schools.

Ellie06 Tue 07-Jun-16 20:41:50

Think of this the other way around and on a different issue. If you had specifically asked for something to happen with your child and the school disagreed and stopped it you would be on here moaning about that instead, and saying that they didn't have the right and you are the parent etc etc. Only five minutes ago I read a post by a parent moaning because the school had called them as they were concerned about the child walking home during a lightening storm. Schools are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

There is no need to be rude or swear Fledglingfridge, I'm simply saying the school won't have ignored the issue and it will have been looked at by a safeguarding team. If they have a policy for fasting then I'm sure that will have been adhered to. If it is deemed to be a child protection issue it will be dealt with. You don't actually have any idea how the school is dealing with it, you're just busy moaning and causing trouble on here instead. No school is going to let a child be at risk in any way but schools can't just lay down the law. Even children that are known to be in terrible situations, like neglect at home (not being washed, turning up with no breakfast, wondering the streets at night) aren't just removed and put into care because it takes months of gathering evidence and acting via certain procedures that are dictated by numerous agencies and government guidelines. The world is very black and white when you're sat infront of a computer screen sprouting opinions on things you know very little about.

Have fun with that one!

peachpudding Tue 07-Jun-16 20:49:02

There is something wrong with parents starving children. I would suspect this is a case of radicalisation.

Helpline
Preventing extremism in schools and children's services
Email
counter.extremism@education.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone
020 7340 7264

Medusacascade Tue 07-Jun-16 20:58:13

Radicalisation? There's nothing new in this. I went to a very multicultural school in East Bristol nearly 40 years ago and children were doing this then. Everyone in class was encouraged to be supportive to those taking part and not offer those doing it food. We all thought it was cool and looked out for the children in class taking part.

MaureenMLove Tue 07-Jun-16 21:01:39

It does seem very young, but if that's what the parents believe is right, then it's up to them.

I've had a really enlightening chat with one of our yr11 students today (yes, in the middle of her GCSEs), who is fasting. She was starving hungry and it's only day 2 of 29/30. She was up until 2am and up again just before dawn, so about 5.30? She was stood by the fridge at 9.12pm last night, waiting for the go ahead to eat. Tonight, she said the golden minute was 9.17pm! She did say the bonus was that mum had bought all her favourite food and ate like a horse.

She was given the choice is year, but she chose to do it. I'm not sure if she's going to make it though. Think she's having doubts already, bless her.

firawla Tue 07-Jun-16 21:06:47

5 is very young, I don't know anyone fasting at that age! If the child is keen to fast, it would be better to do half day on a weekend maybe? I'm sure our school don't let them fast til mid juniors either, year 5 and 6 - maybe 4 at a push.

My 7 yr old (in year 3) is keen to fast but I've restricted him to giving it a try on the weekends, if he can manage - probably only half days though.

I would be surprised if any schools can go along with it for 5 year olds fasting the whole school day during hot summer days. They're not religiously obligated at such a young age and it's a lot of hardship and will affect their learning.

MrsKCastle Tue 07-Jun-16 21:09:04

It's unusual for children so young to fast, but often they want to do it if the rest of the family are. I would imagine the children is eating before and straight after school, and only missing lunch. And probably only doing that for a day or two, just to see what it's like.

As far as the school go, they will not refuse food/drink if the child wants it. They will make sure that the child doesn't run around or stay in the sun, and will keep an eye on them.

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