Ponge and custard, jam roly-poly and other traditional puddings have been banned at a primary school in London because the sugar crash they cause makes pupils ‘irritable’.
Instead of hot desserts that have been served to schoolchildren for generations, pupils at Scott Wilkie Primary in Newham will receive fruit or yoghurt with their lunch and a cereal bar for their morning snack.
Chief Executive Keri Edge said the borough has the second highest childhood obesity rate in London and schools need to think “more carefully” about the food and exercise they provide for pupils.
Ms Edge, who has also extended teaching by an hour a day to help children catch up after the lockdown, said the puddings left pupils feeling tired and irritable.
“After leaving school, in what other area of life do you have high sugar puddings after lunch every day. The answer is nowhere,” she added.
“Newham has one of the highest rates of obesity for children in the country and we need to think more carefully about the amount and type of food and exercise we provide our children.
“Our children used to sit down with their main meal and pudding and while their backs were turned they would eat the pudding before the main course.
“It eliminated that problem and gave the kids more time to play outside with their friends.
“Even as adults, if we eat a big meal at lunchtime, we’re usually not good for too much in the afternoon. For children, it is even more pronounced.
“We found that they were tired and irritable in the afternoon because they had eaten the sweet pudding, but then had a huge sugar crash.
“Naturally, this is going to impact their education, their ability to learn and retain information, and their overall enjoyment of school.”
The move comes nearly two decades after Jamie Oliver reinvented school meals across Britain.
The celebrity chef has made it his mission to ban turkey twizzlers and chicken nuggets and replace them with healthy alternatives.
Last year, Glasgow City Council also removed sweet puddings from its schools.
Ms Edge said some parents initially raised concerns about the plans but have now backed the scheme as child engagement has improved.
She added: “We have a very strong relationship with our parents and they trust our expertise when it comes to raising their children.
“We have a very good academic record, but we also care deeply about the well-being and well-being of our children.
“Eating sweet puddings every day of the week just isn’t good for you, whether you’re a child or an adult.”