Harrogate school polls parents on stopping birthday sweets

23 April 2013

SweetsRossett Acre primary school in Harrogate is consulting with parents on children bringing sweets into school to celebrate their birthday.

The school has said it is listening to feedback from some parents and has now written to all parents to gain a wider response on their wishes.

Mary Riley of the Rossett Acre senior leadership team has written to parents:

It has been suggested by a number of parents that the school should review its arrangements for bringing sweets into school to celebrate a child’s birthday. At present children are allowed to bring wrapped sweets into school to be given out at the end of the school day if they wish.

A suggestion has been made that instead of brining sweets into school, families may like to purchase a recommended book for the school library. This could be shared and enjoyed by all children in the school.

An alternatives suggestion has been made that each class draws up a wish list of small items the children would like for their classroom ie puzzles, special pens, comics. Parents could chose one item from the list to purchase.

Some parents have expressed a desire to stop birthday treats altogether, as sometimes children can be leaving school 2 or 3 times a week with sweets


A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said:

Rossett Acre primary school has had a long tradition of children with birthdays bringing in to school a small bag of wrapped sweets to hand out to members of their class at the end of the school day. It is a birthday tradition the headteacher and staff have been happy to support.

Rossett Acre is school of over 420 children and also prides itself on good and open relations with its parents. As part of this the school gives parents the chance to make suggestions about what they would like to see improved or changed in the school. The school has a suggestions box and email where parents can put forward ideas.

For some time some parents have suggested that instead of parents buying bags of sweets for their child to give out as birthday treats, they could give money for the school to purchase something to benefit all children. This was raised also at a Parent Teachers Association meeting. The school leadership felt that if parents really did want to go down that line then buying a book for the school library might be one way forward.

However, headteacher Corrine Penhale decided to consult all parents on the matter and sent out a letter giving parents the choice of carrying on the sweet tradition or paying for a library book or some other item for the school.


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Corrine Penhale said:

I’ve had the biggest response I’ve ever had when consulting on school issues. Some parents thanked us for consulting, some agreed with an alternative to sweets and others said they thought it was ridiculous to think of changing the tradition and spoiling the fun.

We will look at all the responses and if most parents want to carry on the birthday sweets treat the school leaders and teachers would be more than happy with that.


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