Mum: ‘Hot meal must be option in seclusion’

Todmorden High School.
Todmorden High School.

A row has broken out over Todmorden High School’s seclusion policy regarding meals for pupils subject to it.

Last week mum Abigail Cannon, whose son has been subject to the policy, launched an online petition through ipetitions about this aspect of the policy, which has since garnered more than 200 signatories.

Abigail said her issue was not with the seclusion policy as a whole, accepting that the school had to deal with misbehaviour, but was concerned that an aspect of the policy might deny children the only hot meal they might have in the day.

In response, Todmorden High headteacher Andrew Whitaker said that it was ensured all the school’s students had a nutritionally balanced meal provided by its high-quality catering division.

Abigail said: “If your child is placed into the Seclusion Unit at Todmorden High then they are immediately refused the option of having a hot two-course meal, instead being offered a basic sandwich, biscuit and a drink.

“For some children unfortunately this could be their only daily hot meal. Government legislation states that schools must provide the option of at least two veg and two fruit daily - tell me, where is the two veg and two fruit in a cheese, ham or tuna sandwich?

“I understand the school must be harsh on those children who are misbehaving.. but removing hot meals and education is not the way to do it,” she said.

Mr Whitaker said: “At Todmorden High School the students are at the heart of everything we do and their safety and wellbeing is our absolute priority.

“We ensure that all our students have access to a nutritionally balanced meal every day, which includes access to fruit and vegetables. We have an exceptionally high quality catering provision which also provides meals for other schools in the area.

“We have very high standards and expectations from each and every student at our school. One of the key foundations of the transformation of the school is the clear message that we will deal very robustly with those students who disrupt the learning of their peers as we believe that every child has the right to a high quality education.

“We are rightly proud of our wonderful students whose academic results have moved the school from the bottom five per cent of schools nationally to the top third of schools nationally in the last two years. All adults associated with the school are fully committed to ensuring that we become an outstanding school.”

You can see the online petition at

l Todmorden High awards night - pages 30-31