Friday, 16 October 2009

Even the Nazis didn't ban cakes

Very little politically correct nonsense surprises me these days. We live in an age of utter lunacy, particularly where those working in the public sector are involved. The majority of them seem to have had a collective lobotomy and had every last trace of common sense expunged with a ruthlessness that could only be matched by the Waffen SS.

However, I think I’ve finally heard it all now. A nine-year-old girl took her birthday cake to school to share with her friends. That seems a perfectly reasonable and friendly thing to do and a very nice gesture. Well, it would be to most normal people but if you’re a lobotomised public servant working in education then it is of course a heinous transgression of your school’s healthy living policy.

Poor Olivia Morris was about to share out her chocolate birthday cake after blowing out all of her nine candles (I’m surprised the teacher allowed white man’s fire sticks in the classroom) when the teacher told her she could not share the cake with her friends. It seems that cakes are at odds with Rotherham’s Rockingham Infant and Junior School’s 'healthy living message'.         

Olivia’s grandmother, Eileen, said: 'I've baked and lovingly sent countless cakes to school over the years when my family have celebrated a birthday and now to be told my cakes must be discouraged because they are not healthy eating has left me stunned. I understand the need to teach children healthy eating, but surely a birthday cake is a special treat.'

The school's headteacher (headmistress) Heather Green attempted to explain away her decision to ban the cake: 'We love enjoying the birthdays of our pupils and we celebrate them both in class and in assemblies. At the same time, however, we are working really hard to promote healthy eating and lifestyles among our pupils. It’s a tricky balance not to give a mixed message to pupils if we say to them 'be healthy and eat healthily at school' but at the same time we say 'bring in your cakes and buns to celebrate all our different events.'

She added: 'We also take into account children who have allergies and the pressure that some parents feel they are under to provide such treats if others in the class are doing so.’

Fortunately Olivia’s friends were able to eat the birthday cake once they had left the school grounds. I imagine the only message the children could take from this whole silly episode is that teachers are barking mad jobsworths without an ounce of humanity or common sense. I wonder how long it will be before the teachers start visiting the children’s homes and vetting the food they eat there too. After all, they already censor the kids’ lunchboxes.

Is this why we fought two world wars?


  1. To be honest with you TM i agree schools have gone healthy eating mad but with saying that i have 2 boys who suffer with ADHD and AUTISM, one can eat anything but the other goes hyper with colourings and E numbers it was absolute murder trying to get his school to understand that his behaviour was not his fault if they kept giving him foods he couldnt have.

  2. Why is the child complaining? More cake for them!
    Oh wait... wouldn't that be promoting unhealthy eating? Chosing to ditch a home-baked cake with very little of the additives etc they put into store made ones and then possibly making the poor kids eat the school slop? Oh the humanity!

  3. we had this at my old nursery, we had to ban all cakes as a child may have an allergy that we didn't know about, only to wave the cake infront of every child in the class so they could blow the candles out and then take it away and hand them some fruit, chop up the cake and send it home with out a lsit of ingredants!!!

  4. I see the cake in the picture is surrounded with (with? by? I'm having an acute grammar crisis today) balls. Entirely appropriate in the context of this post.

    A teacher just has to know which of her or his charges are able to eat cake and who aren't and to be able to deal with it in a SENSIBLE way. Not upset the sweet little nine year old on her birthday.

    Rotherham’s Rockingham Infant and Junior School will no doubt now be stationing Rotweilers at the school gates, sniffing at bags and coats to make sure no tasty birthday treats are being smuggled in. Or even little bars of chocolate, or tubes of smarties .. a thruppenny bag of pineapple chunks (yes I go back a long way) or even .. *quiver* .. sticky sweets in their wrappers discovered covered with dust and crumbs, buried in the corners of pockets.

    They make healthy eating sound like a penance for wickedness. Teach balance. I think the whole event was handled really badly and hasn't actually taught the kids anything useful - and Olivia will remember her ninth birthday as a time when she got shot down for her generosity.

    Off to open a bar of Co-Operative Fair Trade choccy and eat it all in celebration of Olivia's ninth birthday. :-) hehe

  5. My son has ADHD and it is a nightmare to try and keep him off sugary things which send him hyper. It is no joke when a situation like this arises, the school trying to participate in one way but being cautious in another. Then all hell breaks lose and they are slated. I would rather critise things that really matter like soldiers not having the correct equipment in Afghanistan than knock the school.

    Frustrated Mum

  6. I understand your point of view but why has this only become an issue in the last few years. And if we were to ignore the Adhd and allergy sufferers, the school would still ban the cake because it's not 'healthy'. Jhow about a nice big carrot or a cabbage with a candle in it?

  7. I read this story too in the Mail and it just made me feel exasperated. Where has all the common sense gone - to the land of biros, odd socks and loose change by the sound of it. My parents always taught us 'everything is fine in moderation' obviously meaning that a piece of birthday cake now and again is absolutely fine. It also means a little salt and sugar in your diet is also fine! Where would you even start to get rid of these Stasi-like oafs?
    @ frustrated mum, I'm one of those too because I don't believe my 3 son's should miss out because some children have certain conditions. Make the school aware, buy your child a health bracelet if necessary but please don't ban all things nice for all kids simply because your child can't eat them!

  8. I would stick to ranting about hospital meals, TM. You've got people on your side. After your release, I look forward to seeing you on the TV interview couches talking about terrible hospital food - you and your blog could really be the springboard for some changes. I just checked out the other blogs that you follow - much more provocative and, my goodness, the language! Leave all that to them and don't necessarily believe everything you read in the Daily Mail!

  9. Jo: As a journalist I get to see these stories first hand and I'm afraid they do happen. You can blame the compensation culture if you like, but life is getting unbearable. I include the odd snippet like this in the blog as it's food related and it's our food that's being messed with, whether it's in hospitals or schools. I'm a libertarian by nature and I really object to the ever-intrusive state interference in our personal lives.

  10. I think it has something to do with the lowest common denominator theory TM ...

    And I am sure this comment will offend some sensitive soul somewhere, but I fail to see why ALL children need to suffer because one precious in the class has an intolerance/allergy whatever.....

    Life is not always fair, and the more they try to make sure it is, the less fair it becomes for the majority who miss out/are forced to adapt to the minority.

    On a side note.. how come peanut allergies were next to unheard of 30 odd years ago when I was at school. Now most schools in Australia have banned peanuts in any form including peanut butter sandwiches. And yes they DO check lunch boxes apparently to ensure conformity. Don't even mention sweets, cake, biscuits or treats home made or not. Actually a shop bought treat is more likely to be allowed than a home made one.

    (steps off soapbox now) LOL

  11. Political correctness came to us from the USA via the mad utterings of people like Noam Chomsky and Andrea Dworkin. It was all too easy for this madness which was written in English to be picked up by the rest of the English speaking world. Fortunately for the French, Spanish, Portuguese etc this nonsense wasn't deemed worthy to be translated so those countries escaped much of this crap. Lets hope the wheel turns full circle and common sense comes back into fashion one day. In the meantime I'll use every withered sinew in my bed-ridden body to fight this nonsense.

  12. You know this doesn't surprise me.
    My children are both at primary school and used to take sweets in for their classes on their birthdays, but last year I got a letter saying that sweets and cakes were no longer welcome. Instead the school asked that we donated a book for the school library, which would have a plaque inserted stating who and why it was donated.
    The kids still insist they'd rather have sweets and cake.

    m x

  13. Noam Chomsky and Andrea Dworkin eh? Now those are two people you don't want to see in the same sentence, not unless it's the ten to fifteen year without the option kind.

    I do wonder if the school is being entirely upfront about their reason for banning the cake. Just as like to be that they are terrified lest it contain an ingredient to which one of their charges is 'allergic' (another modern disease) and the school gets its collective arse sued.

    There was, though, recently some mad Guvment poster that equated giving a child a meringue to abuse, because clearly this was but the start of the slippery slope to morbid obesity.

    When I was a kid there was this kindly - or so I believed then crazy fool that I was - frail, old woman living next door, who always gave me a toffee when I did her shopping for her.

    Little did I realise at the time what a wanton old pervert she really was, plotting my early demise from diabetes, coronary heart disease and multiple organ failure.

    "Hit me with the carrot juice, yo biatch" I should, of course, have told her. Probably the opening line of one of those new secular hymns they all now sing at morning assembly.

  14. Here is a serious danger that treats may distract children from their global warming studies and frankly the sugar in those treats may not be fair trade. There's a chance the children may have fun instead of having the bejeezus frightened out of them. Cakes are just the thin end of the reactionary wedge.

  15. Personally I'm going to make a book shaped cake next time!

  16. The lunatics have taken over the asylum...

  17. Schools are going to new extremes to make life just a bit more dull. I'm a dietitian and therefore promote healthy eating but by banning things you just make them more desirable and a small piece of cake isnt really going to hurt them

  18. I think the real 'lesson' Olivia and her little friends will have learned is that you need to leave the school premises to do the forbidden 'fun' things. In a few short years they too will likely be going over the fence at lunchtimes to go to the local chippy or have a quick fag just like their senior peers do now...

  19. gothmaz13 said "...last year I got a letter saying that sweets and cakes were no longer welcome. Instead the school asked that we donated a book for the school library"

    I'm betting 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' wasn't on the approved reading list then...!

  20. Fricking madness. I remember when I was in hospital I wasn't allowed flowers in the ward because according to the hospital the flowers were the cause of MRSA. What a load of....

  21. WOW TM ... raw nerves 'n' all that.

    OK I can see all sides on this and to suit all sides what should have happened was....

    Granny should have informed the school of her intentions well before the event. School could have then sent out notifications to parents of the children in class for their permission to allow them to accept the cake.

    This would have got around the allergy/intolerance thing but I'm afraid I'm with you TM ... healthy lifestyles? one slice of cake? wtf??!!

    btw ... you do let this 'natural libertarian' thing rule your heart a little too much ;-)

  22. I'm not that bothered by the cake episode as much as the growing tendency of authorities to throw their weight around or to lack common sense. Liberties are hard won over many years and yet they can disappear in the blink
    of an eye. The Nazis probably started with a few petty rules and restrictions but once authorities get a taste for banning things and bullying people, if they meet no resistance they just go on and on. I do get criticised for being a libertarian but all I really want is for government to be kept as small as possible and for it to realise it serves us rather than it thinking we serve it. Does that make sense?

  23. One of the basic building blocks of social justice is the principle of subsidiarity which puts a proper limit on government by insisting that no higher level of organization should perform any function that can be handled efficiently and effectively at a lower level of organization by human persons who, individually or in groups, are closer to the problems and closer to the ground. The Nanny State is always in violation of the principle of subsidiarity.

  24. I've got 3 kids - 10, 12, 14. The 2 eldest at High School have a card system to pay for their lunches - which we are allowed to monitor (get a wee print out home to say what they've been eating) - although the school can't get that particular system to work. That said, the school itself offers the kids no actual police presence on the picking of their meals - so my eldest daughter spent a week eating chips every day along with a packet of crisps and a bottle of flavoured water (99% sugar I might add!!) - so we stopped it & send them with packed lunches.

    In contrast, my youngest daughter's teacher plays nazi guard on their lunchboxes - she won't allow them to take anything but her idea of healthy snacks at their breaktime....fruit, cheese and crackers (!), carrot sticks - you get the idea! she's not allowed to take the packet of crips I provide her with until lunchtime.

    EXCUSE ME?! I am the parent - I'LL DECIDE! I appreciate there are parents out there who send their kids to school with 2 packets of crips, a mars bar, a packet of skittles and a wee bottle of irn bru (yes, there are, he's in my daughters class!) - but surely the school should be taking necessary measures in educating and assisting these parents - not tarring us all with the 'Jeremy Kyle' generation of parents brush!!

    There are some stupid people out there who have unfortunately gone on to breed....... but we're not all stupid thanks!

    Rant over!


  25. When I was at school sharing cakes was the norm, e numbers didnt come into it, and fun was had by all. The nanny state in Britain is one of the reasons I moved abroad. I wish you all luck !!

  26. I'm surprised they didn't require her to show a certificate that the cake was halal!