A council is spending £100,000 on a footpath to ensure children can reach the nearest McDonald’s safely from the school gates.
Every lunch time 200 pupils turn their noses up at school meals and instead walk along a busy bypass to eat at the fast food chain.
But instead of encouraging the high school pupils to stay on site, Bridgend council in South Wales is now planning to spend taxpayers’ money making a ‘McPath’ between the McDonald’s and the school.
Council chiefs say they can’t stop children tucking into burgers and need to protect their safety on the half-mile walk to the burger bar.
Ironically today is the start of National Childhood Obesity Week and health experts have criticised the decision to spend taxpayers’ money on a quick route to fast food .
But bizarrely even the headmaster is supporting the new McPath as one in ten of his 2,000 pupil school take the daily trip for a fast food lunch. ……./click here to read more
Headteacher David Jenkins said: “The road, as a major route, is extremely busy and presents a significant hazard for our pupils. The establishment of a footpath along the proposed route would significantly enhance the safety of our pupils.”
The head and governors of Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend have also given their backing to the path along the busy A48 dual carriageway – now a grassy verge used as a shortcut by pupils.
But a British Dietetic Association spokeswoman said children would ‘benefit far more’ by staying in school to eat balanced meals.
She said: “It’s clearly not the best option for children having fast food every day. They should be encouraged to have a varied diet. If they’re eating at McDonald’s every day, they risk obesity and heart disease, as well as feeling sluggish, not being able to focus on schoolwork and not being able to get through the day.”
But council spokeswoman Barbara Parish said road safety was “far more important than risking more pupils eating fast food”.
She said: “They are taking risks walking along that road and they will carry on doing it, putting themselves in danger. For me, the safety of the children is more important than the possibility that more children are going to use the route.
“We are not encouraging them to go to McDonald’s, as they are going anyway. Maybe one or two more might go because of this, but the good of the majority has got to come first.”
Children visiting the McDonald’s also supported the money being spent on the path from their school gates to the burger bar. One said: “It’s really dangerous; they should at least put some railings there. Nearly everyone in my year goes down at lunch and the sixth form are always there. Let’s face it, school dinners are rubbish.”
Oh poor Jamie Oliver and his school dinner crusade!
What do you make of this?
Couldn’t children be both safe and eating heathily by keeping them in school during breaks?