The Government has said that teachers are free to take and keep any item from pupils’ lunchboxes if they believe it is unhealthy or inappropriate.
There was outrage from parents last month when it emerged children had scotch eggs and a Peperami confiscated under health eating policies.
However, as part of an assault on childhood obesity, ministers have backed the move, giving staff freedom, to ‘confiscate, keep or destroy’ anything they deem to be breaking school policies and are setting out procedures for carrying out lunchbox inspections
Critics have blasted the nanny state crackdown as hypocritical and as being an ‘interfering overreach’.
The Express reports:
As part of guidelines on lunchbox searches, teachers are also expected to consult and discuss healthy eating plans with pupils’ parents.
The Department of Education claims schools and teachers should also seek out legal advice if they have worries over pupils’ food.
Education minister Lord Nash said: “Schools have common law powers to search pupils, with their consent, for items.
“There is nothing to prevent schools from having a policy of inspecting lunch boxes for food items that are prohibited under their school food policies.
“A member of staff may confiscate, keep or destroy such items found as a result of the search if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances.
“If authorities and schools are concerned about their legal position, they should seek their own legal advice.”
The wide-ranging powers for schools and teachers have led to a number of recent rows over pupil’s packed lunches.
Parents have been outraged after reports emerged of items from pupils’ lunch boxes being taken off them.
The Government intervention into children’s lunches follows an NHS warning that childhood obesity is the biggest threat facing the nation’s health.
A top NHS boss warned that many children are being failed by parents, with one in 10 obese by the time they begin primary school.
However, opposition MPs have criticised the Government guidelines as an interfering overreach.
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said: “The Department for Education really must be missing Michael Gove.
“They are resorting to the kind of nanny state stunts that you would have expected from Tony Blair’s Labour government 15 years ago.
Mother Vikki Laws said her daughter Tori, six, had a Peperami sausage snack taken off her at Cherry Tree Primary School, in Colchester, until the end of the school day.
Parents at Manley Park Primary School in Manchester were also shocked when healthy snacks such as cereal bars were banned from children’s packed lunches.
A packet of 100 per cent fruit chews was taken away from a child because of their ‘hidden sugar’ despite the school canteen offering pizza, chocolate fudge cake and fish fingers on its lunch menu.