FISH is off the menu at Robert Le Kyng primary school as staff look to protect a new child with a life-threatening allergy.
Letters sent to parents at the end of last month explained that a child due to join the school has extreme allergies to fish, and rather than risk a reaction, they have banned fish products from the school site – including in children’s lunchboxes.
Susan Smith, headteacher of Robert Le Kyng, said: “This decision was not reached without seeking advice from the relevant medical professionals involved with this child.
“In this case, the child in question will be joining us full-time in September, but is coming in part-time until then as part of an extended induction. “She has had severe reactions, not just to the smell of cooking fish, but also when her mother touched her after eating a tuna sandwich.
“This is about the life-threatening nature of the reaction. “The school nurse has said it is a balance between a dietary change and a life threatening issue, and we have to protect the children under our care. “That is why we have asked for lots more detail so we can make a more informed decision.
“We can’t completely avoid the risk, and that is why we have done additional training, and we are constantly reviewing the situation.
“We appreciate this is quite a large response but at the moment it is necessary. She has had quite severe reactions, and has been in hospital as a result. “The reactions so far have been to haddock, tuna and one other fish. It is very unusual.
“As a school with a Special Resource Provision for children with physical disability, we do have children with complex physical and medical needs in the school. This means that sometimes there are minor adaptations that need to be made.”
The ban means that all children must refrain from having fish in their lunchboxes and all fish will be off the menu for hot school dinners.
Mrs Smith said she hopes that in time, once investigations have been carried out, the school may be able to alter the ban.
“We do understand that this will have an impact on the choices and diet of some of the other children in our care and this decision was not taken lightly,” she said. “We hope that over time, as the child has more medical investigations, they will be able to pinpoint the allergies accurately and we will be able to be more specific about what we need to avoid.
“I fully understand that it will have an impact on what can go in children’s lunchboxes and if there were an alternative, I would not have taken such a drastic step.”
Lee East, 48, has a 10-year-old daughter at the school with a peanut allergy, and thought the measures were harsh.
“My daughter has her medication with her at school and with her friends they know she has an allergy and they are very careful around her. She doesn’t want her friends to suffer because of her allergy. I don’t see how this is grounds for banning it.
“If they are going to review it then that’s fine. We have been through the same thing. “My daughter has been into the hospital and had all the same challenges. It just seems that this is going over the top.”