Primary school bans pudding as 'sugar crash' impacted learning

A woman standing with her hands on the back of a chair in front of bookshelves.

Scott Wilkie Primary School executive headteacher Keri Edge says pupils are more engaged with learning since the lunchtime dessert ban - Credit: Tom Barnes

A primary school in Custom House has banned stodgy puddings at lunchtime because the "sugar crash" left children "tired and irritable" in the afternoon. 

Scott Wilkie Primary School is using the money it saves from the desserts to instead provide healthy, energy-boosting snacks such as fruit bowls, yoghurts and cereal bars in the morning.

Executive headteacher Keri Edge said removing lunchtime pudding means pupils are more engaged with learning in the afternoon.

Ms Edge said: "After you leave school, in what other walk of life are you having high sugar puddings after lunch every day? The answer is nowhere.

"Newham has one of the highest levels of obese children in the country and we need to think more carefully about the amount of, and kind of, food and exercise we are offering our children."

She added children would often eat the pudding before their main meal - the new rules have solved this while giving pupils more time to be outside playing with friends.

Ms Edge said: "Even as adults, if we have a heavy lunchtime meal, then we are generally not good for too much in the afternoon.

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"For children it is even more pronounced.

"We found they were tired and irritable in the afternoon because they have had the sweet pudding but then had a huge sugar crash.

"Naturally this is going to impact on their education, their capacity to learn and retain information and their general enjoyment of school."

The primary in Hoskins Close recently extended school days by an hour to help children catch up on learning lost during the pandemic.

Some parents initially raised concerns about the pudding ban but Ms Edge said they now support it after noticing their child’s engagement had improved.

She added: “We have a very strong relationship with our parents and they trust in our expertise when it comes to educating their children.

“We have a very strong academic track record but we also care deeply about the welfare and wellbeing of our children.

“Eating sweet puddings every week day is just not good for you, if you are a child or an adult."

Scott Wilkie boasts progress scores in core subjects - such as reading, writing and maths - that are far above the national average.

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