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Anyone know of any 'Food-related' Policies at schools?

(8 Posts)
undecidedanduncertain Tue 04-Feb-14 12:27:21

I am intending to go in and discuss with our headteacher - I think that the school needs a 'policy' about food-related activities at school. I'm not talking about lunches, but about food being used in lessons/activities.

I have spent ages discussing with my coeliac children's teachers, but still we seem to constantly end up with the situation that they are excluded from activities (like 'blind tasting' of different foods, noodles for a lesson about Chinese new year etc. etc.)

I have said so many times that I am happy to bring in alternatives if they let me know in advance, or even suggest how they can make the food gluten-free for everyone (e.g. buy rice noodles instead of wheat ones - more authentic too!)

But they never seem to think about it in advance, and only at the last minute in the lesson suddenly say - oh! you can't eat this, sorry. The teachers themselves are lovely, so they're not being unpleasant, they just don't think.

It makes my children feel sad and left out, and I think it's unnecessary when a little bit of planning could avoid it.

Do any schools have policies about using foods in lessons? I am thinking that the school should have something like this.

1. Food should not be used as an 'ad hoc' / last minute activity - only where it has been planned in advance.

2. Keep a list of children's medical/religious dietary requirements somewhere (at our school, there is already a list, used by the canteen)

2. When planning to use food, check against the list of dietary requirements and see if there are any clashes. If there are clashes
a) if possible, modify the food to be suitable for everyone (e.g. the rice noodles)
b) if that is not possible, provide a suitable substitution for the child(ren) involved. (This could be done by asking the parent to provide a substitute).
c) make sure that measures are in place during the lesson to prevent children being given a food that is dangerous for them.

I would be grateful for your thoughts on this. Does it seem like an extra burden to place on teachers? I can't help thinking that in the modern age of allergies etc. there need to be guidelines about using food in lessons - i is a safety issue.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 04-Feb-14 13:13:20

Wait till they start cookery classes and it is up to you to adapt the recipe to accommodate coeliac and of course there should be no nuts. Chocolate brownies without wheat or nuts - really quite challenging whilst retaining a recipe that can be completed in the lesson.

undecidedanduncertain Tue 04-Feb-14 13:18:12

I know, Lonecat! They don't do cookery at primary though, and our local secondary has a really good set-up - on-site dietician and very experienced at adaptations for all dietary requirements, so I am hopeful that things will be easier there.

They're only at the start of their primary years (YR and Y1) so we have a lot of years to go here. Food seems to be used in the classrooms a lot. It's great that the teachers are creative, but it just constantly excludes my DC - and I think that could be avoided by a bit of pre-planning.

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 04-Feb-14 13:24:28

I am wondering about this too. DD1 also wasn't allowed to try the noodles last week because they had dairy in. hmm what blimmin noodles did they buy?!

juniper44 Tue 04-Feb-14 13:25:56

Your list seems perfectly reasonable and it is bad practice for the teachers to not think these lessons through.

I've always had a list of foods to avoid in my classroom, and I've always put on alternative activities if some children can't take part in the main lesson. We did chocolate tasting last year (ipc) and had to be really careful about nuts. One child had mints instead (his choice!)

TitsalinaBumSquash Tue 04-Feb-14 13:31:27

I've had this with the school but not because of dietary needs but because DS has to take medication when he eats, they have the medication, they have the permission slip to administer it signed by me, they also have a long list of foods that I have written how much lf the medication he needs for each thing, plus a contact list with 10 different people they can call on to ask how much he would need for certain foods, yet he still comes out every time they taste food or do some cooking really upset because he's not been allowed to join in. angry

I don't think YABU at all.

Adikia Tue 04-Feb-14 14:15:23

DD's school let us know about a week before any food activities and if your child has allergies you are welcome to send something in for them. They also make sure at least some of the food is suitable and for cookery they prepare a separate recipe for anyone who needs it.

DD hasn't got any allergies but I know for the Chinese feast last week the teacher had dished up paper plates with each child's name on as they are only in reception, so it was easier to dish up what they could eat then let them help themselves and try to check no one took anything they couldn't eat.

undecidedanduncertain Wed 05-Feb-14 09:28:09

Thank you very much for your feedback - and I was really pleased it was so supportive (might have been different if I'd posted on AIBU, I suspect). I did think that people might think I was being precious - but your replies have helped me feel that's not the case.

I had a chat with the head today. She was lovely and said she totally agreed, and she is going to produce a short 'tick list' to distribute to staff for them to use when planning lessons involving food.

Now to see if they use it....

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