Lunchtime Lock-in at schools to stop rush for chippie
Many well run secondary schools already operate this system unless a child has specific permission to go home for lunch - and that means home - not hanging around the shopping arcades or fast food outlets. With childhood obesity rates rising year on year this could be a good thing for the health of the nation but only if schools make their buildings open and inviting places place to be over the lunch hour and that activities are put on or the kids are allowed to plan and run some themselves. These measures coupled with good healthy school meals would be welcomed by most teenagers and parents. Too many schools operate an effective lock-out at lunch which has to be worse than a 'Welcome kids - stay in school, eat well and play well - it's your building!' approach.
A gaggle of schoolchildren at the chip shop is a common scene in Britain's high streets - but it may not be for much longer. The children's minister, Kevin Brennan, has called for secondary pupils under the age of 16 to be locked in school grounds at lunchtime to stop them from stocking up on sweets, fizzy drinks and takeaways.
The proposal comes as damning new research reveals the extent to which children pass through school gates to buy large quantities of food that is high in fat and sugar. Some pupils left school to buy junk food more than 11 times a week.
With soaring numbers of children now dangerously overweight, Brennan said one answer was to keep millions of pupils inside the gates. 'Some schools have a stay-on-site policy for 11- to 16-year-olds but lets the sixth form go off-site. I'm very strongly supportive of that approach. I would like to see more schools operating some sort of stay-on-site policy because its advantages are shown not just in improved uptake [of healthy school lunches], but also improved behaviour and community relationships.'