However, I think I’ve finally heard it all now. A nine-year-old girl took her birthday cake to school to share with her friends. That seems a perfectly reasonable and friendly thing to do and a very nice gesture. Well, it would be to most normal people but if you’re a lobotomised public servant working in education then it is of course a heinous transgression of your school’s healthy living policy.
Poor Olivia Morris was about to share out her chocolate birthday cake after blowing out all of her nine candles (I’m surprised the teacher allowed white man’s fire sticks in the classroom) when the teacher told her she could not share the cake with her friends. It seems that cakes are at odds with Rotherham’s Rockingham Infant and Junior School’s 'healthy living message'.
Olivia’s grandmother, Eileen, said: 'I've baked and lovingly sent countless cakes to school over the years when my family have celebrated a birthday and now to be told my cakes must be discouraged because they are not healthy eating has left me stunned. I understand the need to teach children healthy eating, but surely a birthday cake is a special treat.'
The school's headteacher (headmistress) Heather Green attempted to explain away her decision to ban the cake: 'We love enjoying the birthdays of our pupils and we celebrate them both in class and in assemblies. At the same time, however, we are working really hard to promote healthy eating and lifestyles among our pupils. It’s a tricky balance not to give a mixed message to pupils if we say to them 'be healthy and eat healthily at school' but at the same time we say 'bring in your cakes and buns to celebrate all our different events.'
She added: 'We also take into account children who have allergies and the pressure that some parents feel they are under to provide such treats if others in the class are doing so.’
Fortunately Olivia’s friends were able to eat the birthday cake once they had left the school grounds. I imagine the only message the children could take from this whole silly episode is that teachers are barking mad jobsworths without an ounce of humanity or common sense. I wonder how long it will be before the teachers start visiting the children’s homes and vetting the food they eat there too. After all, they already censor the kids’ lunchboxes.
Is this why we fought two world wars?