A SHEFFIELD mother says her four-year-old son is coming home from the classroom every day thirsty and miserable because of a school policy which bans him from drinking flavoured water.
Reception class pupil Brandon Ashall refuses to touch ordinary water, putting him in conflict with healthy eating rules at Monteney Primary in Parson Cross, which has put a classroom ban on all drinks except water and milk.
Mum Kathryn North has been in dispute with the school over the issue for the last six months and only allowed Brandon to return to classes this week after a four-week stand-off.
But she says she is prepared to take her case to the Ombudsman if the problem isn’t sorted out soon.
“Brandon just doesn’t like plain water,” said Kathryn. “But it isn’t as if I’m sending him to school with sugary drinks – he has a healthy alternative. His favourite drink is Robinsons H20, which is 99.4%water and 0.6% orange or blackcurrant flavour.
“When he comes out of school he begs for a drink – I worry he gets dehydrated, especially in warm weather.”
Kathryn, of Wheata Road, Parson Cross, said Brandon had seen his water container confiscated by staff after they smelled its contents and found it did not contain plain water.
“I know the school has the health of the children at heart but they are going too far with this,” she said.
Monteney executive headteacher Nicola Shipman said the school had a policy to provide continuous water to all pupils to encourage them and their parents to support a healthy approach to their diet.
“This sensible approach and policy on drinks in school has been drawn up with pupils and parents and fully endorsed by them.
“More than 450 parents at our school support us in providing their children with water and we are sorry we’ve not yet gained such support from this family.
“We believe it is important that young people are given every opportunity in school to benefit from healthy options.
“Pure water is healthy and a viable alternative to flavoured options and pop. We also encourage pupils to drink milk if they prefer.”