THE headteacher of a Worcester school has written to TV chef Jamie Oliver asking him to stop a supermarket giant serving his pupils junk food.
Neil Morris says the Sainsbury’s store next to his school – Christopher Whitehead Language College – is tempting pupils with offers of cheap sweets and fizzy drinks.
But Sainsbury’s says it also offers deals on healthy foods and has offered to meet Mr Morris to discuss his concerns.
Mr Morris says he has already had to send teachers to the supermarket to order pupils back to class and fears the school’s canteen will be put out of business if pupils continue to abandon healthy eating options in favour of junk food.
Now he has asked the face of Sainsbury’s and champion of healthy school dinners Jamie Oliver to see for himself the impact he says the supermarket is having on the school.
Mr Morris said: “I am asking Jamie Oliver to come in and to meet with the store manager. All I am asking is that they don’t serve the students after 8.25am (the start of the school day).
“They say they are not, but they are. We have teachers now outside the store getting the children back into class. But these offers are causing poor diet and litter for the pupils and the school.
“They have a great responsibility within the community that they aren’t actually going with or meeting.
"We don’t want to have to ban our kids from Sainsbury’s but that is the way it could be going.”
In a letter addressed to Mr Oliver, who is the celebrity face of Sainsbury’s advertising campaign, Mr Morris said he was “increasingly concerned” that the school’s excellent canteen, which has achieved the Government’s Healthy Schools status, will be put out of business by the “aggressive promotion of cheap, unhealthy, ‘two for the price of one’ junk foods”.
Sainsbury’s opened its new store in St John’s in March 2009. In return for planning permission it agreed with Worcester City Council to fund the new St John’s Youth Centre and Sports Centre as well as improvements to Christopher Whitehead Language College.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: "Our stores aim to make a real positive difference to the community so we were sorry to hear that one of our neighbours feels this way.
“As well as special offers on occasional treats like soft drinks and crisps we also offer great deals on fruit and other healthier products.
“We also take great care to advertise the benefits of healthy eating. Our Worcester store manager will be getting in touch with Mr Morris shortly to arrange a meeting to address his concerns and explore ways we can work more closely with the school in future."
This week a report by the Royal Economic Society claimed Mr Oliver’s healthy school dinners had led to a marked improvement in national currriculum test results.
The research suggested children reared on the healthier dinners did far better in tests for 11-year-olds.
No-one from Mr Oliver’s company was available to comment