Plaistow schoolchildren ‘forced’ to eat healthy school meals

A Plaistow school had to reassure dozens of parents after their children complained they had to been forced to stay in and eat healthy meals.

Kaizen Primary School, in Elkington Road, admitted that a staff member was spoken to after a “one-off incident” but denied forcing pupils to stay put until their plates were clean.

But mothers described how their children were discouraged from binning their unwanted meals.

Candeece Kenlock, from Plaistow, said her five-year-old son Kehyan refused to attend one morning last week.

She said: “He was crying and saying that the kids couldn’t scrape any food into the bin.

“I’ve heard action has been taken but the damage has already been done, he’s been terrified.

“I’ve been finding food hidden down the table and in tissues at home. It’s like he’s picked up habits from school.”

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Kaizen said it encouraged pupils to try a wide range of food at meal times.

It provides a choice of five different meals every day with two vegetables and a choice of salads.

Miss Kenlock added: “I wasn’t happy. For someone to be telling my child what they should and shouldn’t be eating is not on.”

Another mother, Jo, is now sending her two boys to school with a packed lunch.

She said: “If they were trying to make them eat healthy hot food then this is just the reverse of what they wanted to do.

“My boys have come home in tears because they were forced to eat peas.

“We’ve all (parents) been talking about it. It’s like going back to the dark ages.”

In a statement, joint headteachers Rebekah Iiyambo and Mitch Karunaratne said they wanted to ensure pupils were well fed while in school.

They said: “There was a one-off incident where a member of staff kept a small number of pupils in the dining hall because they were concerned the children in question had not eaten enough of their school lunch to sustain them throughout the day.

“We have spoken to this staff member, who was acting in the best interests of the pupils, and we can promise this won’t happen again.

“We have already reassured a number of parents who came to us concerned.

“We are always happy to talk to parents if they have any concerns about school lunches or any of our policies.”