POLL: Bitter sweet row over treats at school gates

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A “bonkers” consultation has been launched at a Harrogate primary school - to ban birthday treats.

Parents at Rossett Acre have been asked to consider buying a book for the library rather than the traditional bag of birthday sweets.

But outraged parents have hit back at the “bonkers” suggestion, setting up a ‘Save our Sweets’ campaign after being sent a formal letter to consult on the issue.

“It’s just bonkers,” said mum Helen Nash. “They are taking away the last of the fun from junior school. It’s someone’s birthday - do we really need to fill in more forms to give our kids a single sweet?”

The current policy, a long-standing tradition at Rossett Acre School, allows birthday boys and girls to take in a bag of sweets on their birthday. Each child can have just one.

But now, after concerns were raised that children are sometimes getting up to three sweets a week, a formal consultation has been launched with letters being sent home.

“The school leadership felt that if parents really did want to go down that line then buying a book for the school library might be one way forward,” a statement issued by the school said.

Mrs Nash, whose 10-year-old son Thomas is a pupil at Rossett Acre, has said it is a wonderful school. She is just sad it has come to this: “It used to be that you baked a cake. Then, we were only allowed to send in wrapped sweets.

“The kids can’t do anything any more - they can’t run in the playground and there’s even debate about not having a barbecue in case someone burns their fingers.”

The issue has sparked a fierce debate online, with even Jeremy Vine commenting. “Teacher’s right,” he said on Twitter, sparking a flurry of responses.

Even headteacher Corrine Penhale has said it’s prompted the biggest response ever to any school consultation.

“Some parents thanked us for consulting, some agreed with an alternative to sweets and others said they thought it was ridiculous to think of changing the tradition and spoiling the fun,” she said.

“We will look at all the responses and if most parents want to carry on the birthday sweets treat the school leaders and teachers would be more than happy with that.”