TEACHERS at a Sheffield primary school were branded ‘bonkers’ after banning homemade buns and cakes at the annual Christmas fair.
Gleadless Primary headteacher Valerie Fowles sent a letter to mums and dads saying they could only donate homemade goodies if they had valid food and hygiene certificates.
Mrs Fowles said the ban was down to a new council ruling - although it was still fine to bring in alcoholic drinks to the event.
In a letter to parents, she explained: “Due to new regulations we can only accept donations of homemade cakes and buns from people who have a food and hygiene certificate.”
Parents were bewildered by the decision - calling it ‘ridiculous’, ‘a load of twaddle’ and ‘bonkers’.
One added: “I think it’s crazy that I can’t bake some cakes to help out with my child’s Christmas fair.”
Sheffield Council said its guidelines had been misinterpreted by the school and were meant to apply to contract caterers.
Barbara Atkinson, at school to pick up her granddaughter, said it was a tradition for parents to bake cakes for school events.
“I think it is ridiculous - though I know some schools allow homemade produce and some don’t,” she added.
A dad picking up his son in Year 6 said: “It’s health and safety gone mad - things are completely out of hand. The letter didn’t surprise me - there’s nothing that surprises me these days.”
And a mum with a six-year-old son said: “I know it’s all about the children’s safety but no one’s ever been hurt eating homemade cakes. The school’s going a bit too far.”
Mary Marsden, picking up her granddaughter Eve, said she could understand why some parents were unhappy.
“Schools do have to be so careful. My daughter-in-law Rachael brought cup cakes to the fair but she does have a certificate as she bakes for a charity,” she added.
But Rebecca Poole, who has a son Callum at the school, said she supported the head.
“I think it’s a good idea, I like to know that everything at school will be clean and safe,” she said
Council officials said that the guidance issued was supposed to apply to large outside contractors who sometimes cater for a major event - and that they would be offering advice to the school.
Council service manager Steve Clark said: “Guidance about food hygiene was issued to let schools know about best practice when holding events where food is brought in.
“These type of school events vary greatly from big summer barbeques to some mince pies at Christmas.
“We issued this in good faith, but in light of feedback from schools we will be reviewing the guidance and reassuring schools that it is fine for them to continue to use common sense when inviting parents to contribute food to events.”
Mrs Fowles insisted the advice to parents had followed the council’s guidelines.
She said: “The last thing we wanted to do was ban anyone from bringing homemade cakes to the Christmas fair so I am delighted that the local authority policy which we followed is being reviewed.”