A school has been slammed for acting ‘like a prison’ after teachers searched students’ bags at the school gates for junk food .
Youngster have been banned from taking more than one unhealthy snack into the school in Stockport in a bid to improve safety, get pupils eating more healthily and looking smart.
Among other things pupils have been warned about are excessive makeup, sloppy uniforms and aerosols.
Reddish Vale High School in Stockport are lining up the students in the mornings for searches, in a move that some parents have said made their children feel the school is ‘like a prison.’
Headteacher Linda Hanson, who took over in September, said checks have been done in the past, but a fresh drive was launched following the Christmas and New Year break.
She said parents were informed of the move in a newsletter – and that the majority have been ‘extremely supportive’.
Students, she added, are reminded about the checks in assemblies and during form time.
Some parents told the Manchester Evening News that they only found out about the checks when their children told them.
In a statement, Ms Hanson, who has also banned sugary slushie drinks, said: “As with many other schools, bag searches are conducted regularly as a safeguarding measure.
“Standard checks are completed daily to maintain high standards and ensure policies are adhered to.”
Ms Hanson said the checks are used to help limit the number of unhealthy snacks; ensure ‘illegal, banned and dangerous’ items are not taken into school; and enforce a ban on aerosols.
She said checks on scruffy uniform and excessive makeup were aimed at ‘maintaining high standards and expectations, while removing social barriers caused through pressures surrounding personal image and appearance’.
“The majority of our parents have been extremely supportive of our commitment to high standards,” Ms Hanson added.
“Pupils and parents have the opportunity to discuss these issues through the school council and through the parent’s forum.”
Some parents said pupils have been marked down as later after queuing to have their bags checked – and others that they were not properly informed about the move.
“It’s not so much the confiscating snacks that bothers me, but the fact they’ve not done enough to tell us about it,” one parent, who asked not to be named, said.
“I also found out my child was spending money at school on muffins and cookies.
“I raised it with the school and they said it was up to parents to educate their children on healthy eating.
“We eat home cooked meals, but when they are at school a lot of what they eat is out of my control.”
Another parent said: “The checks are being done outside, even in the bad weather they’re made to wait. My son said his blazer is checked and they rummage around in his bag.”