A headteacher has defended his decision to permanently exclude a six-year-old pupil after the boy's parents claimed he was punished for having Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox.
Riley Pearson was suspended from Colnbrook CofE Primary School in Slough, Berkshire, for four days for breaching his school's healthy eating policy.
But the boy has now been told not to return to the school by headteacher Jeremy Meek because his parents were threatening to send him to school 'with insufficient food to sustain' him throughout the school day.
Riley's dad Tom told The Sun that his son was singled out for having a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunch box.
But Colnbrook head Mr Meek told Parentdish that this was 'wholly inaccurate' and 'potentially damaging to the school'.
He explained: "We have not excluded a pupil for just having Mini Cheddars in their lunchbox, but where there is a persistent and deliberate breach of school policy, such as bringing in crisps, biscuits, sausage rolls, mini sausages, scotch eggs and similar, and all other avenues have been exhausted, the Governors would expect further action to be taken."
He added: "The school would only use a permanent exclusion as a final resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.
"Today (Tuesday 4 February) the school has taken the decision to permanently exclude a pupil for the following reasons:
• Persistent breaches of school policies.
• During the course of a recent four day exclusion, the pupil's parents made it publicly clear that their child would not be following the school's policy on healthy eating upon their return.
• The parent-school relationship suffering an irretrievable breakdown that would have put two pupils in an unacceptable position. This breakdown was due to misrepresentations in the local and national media that were both wholly inaccurate and grossly misleading, abusive language being used towards staff, and other inappropriate actions being taken that were designed to damage the school's reputation."
Outlining the school's philosophy towards school meals, Mr Meek added: "Colnbrook C. of E. Primary School has recently introduced a Healthy Eating Policy across the school, which has been hugely successful. We have provided lots of guidance about healthy eating to both parents and pupils, all of which is in line with Government guidelines.
"We have run a parent workshop on healthy eating and have more on offer, such as a healthy cooking session specifically for parents.
"We launched the initiative to the children with a special day, inviting in dieticians and other food specialists, and we have been thrilled with the reaction received from the parents and pupils so far.
"In line with many other schools, we have banned items such as crisps, chocolate, sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and biscuits.
"However, it is extremely disappointing that the media have been provided with such grossly misleading information which has resulted in them running a wholly inaccurate and potentially damaging story for our school.
"We have not excluded a pupil for just having mini cheddars in their lunchbox, but where there is a persistent and deliberate breach of school policy, such as bringing in crisps, biscuits, sausage rolls, mini sausages, scotch eggs and similar, and all other avenues have been exhausted, the Governors would expect further action to be taken.
"If we are faced with a situation where a parent threatens to send a pupil into school with insufficient food to sustain them throughout the school day, it is a risk we simply cannot afford to happen."