Wednesday 5 October 2016

Weighing Children in School; A Guest Post

I recently wrote about the National Child Measurement Programme and why I would not allow my son to take part. I received a lot of interest in the post and one of the main comments I received was that people did not realise their children didn't have to take part, or they are unaware that weighing children in school happened at all. This scheme happens in all state-run schools, every year (I'm not sure about Private Schools), but you have every right to opt out. The weigh-in takes place during Reception year and again in Year 6. If you don't receive a form to sign to opt out, inform your school in writing if you would prefer your children to be excluded. 

Sam, from A Testing Time  told me such a dreadful story about what her poor lad went through as a result of the scheme, that I felt it warranted a separate guest post. So, here is Sam to tell you why she wouldn't agree to the scheme after the first time either. 

My oldest son had a weight check when he was in year 2, as they had just started the scheme then in the area I live. I wasn't made aware this was being done, so will explain what happened. First I knew of anything going on, was a health awareness week. Well, it spread out over 2 weeks. The first week was learning about exercise and second week about nutrition and the weigh in. They had people coming in speaking about nutrition and exercise. We were aware of this to a degree, just signposted there was some healthy events going on. Didn't think anything of it. Although there was no mention of my child being weighed. First week was fine, excited about different ways to keep fit. This was at the Football mad stage, saw no issues.

Trainered feet jumping on race track

Second week comes along and by Wednesday, he wouldn't eat barely anything. So I asked why, he advised he wanted to keep fit and eat well. Now I do cook healthy anyway, so I couldn't understand why he was saying no to his favourite foods. Roll on to Friday, I could hear him sobbing before I even got to his class. He was inconsolable, teacher had no idea. Took him home and asked what was up, he pulled out this letter.

In big bold letters: OVERWEIGHT

I was like serious? What the hell is this? I was furious. I never agreed to this. Over the weekend, he ate nothing but lettuce and bits of apple. I tried talking to him and saying over and over he was not overweight. Now my eldest is tall, tallest in his class and there is absolutely no fat on him, never mind being overweight! Monday comes along and I storm on to the playground, when I heard another Mum saying her daughter refused to eat anything. I popped over and said I was having the same issue. Teacher comes out and there is 5 of us, going mad, asking what the hell went on. Head teacher came out and he said everyone had to do it. We said no, no way would we have agreed to this and they had no right. No permission or anything.

Apple and tape measure next to water glass

Gets to Thursday and the poor boy had been exercising so much he was exhausted, along with barely eating... I couldn't take any more. I called my GP's office and explained, got an emergency appointment. GP weighed him, took his height and expained to my son he was perfect, in fact a little underweight. He explained to the GP about what the letter and nurse said (I did not know about the nurse at this point) and the GP was stunned. Talked my son into eating and said 'how can you be a footballer if you don't eat? You know footballers love crisps, ask Gary Lineker'.

We walked out and he seemed a bit better. It took a few weeks, but it was soon forgotten, but I did not forget. They tried to do it to my middle son a year later, I refused point blank. I said do it and I will seek legal advice. My son's friend has a full blown eating disorder now because of this, 5 years later and the nurse got fired by the time we finished with her. It's disgusting how they give kids a complex so young!

Best of Worst


  1. Oh my word. Reading this has made me so angry. I missed yoru first post about it but I'm so glad you then sorted this guest post from Sam. Her poor son, at least they found a sensible and helpful GP. I had no idea they did this in schools. Thank you for drawing my attention to it. #bestandworst

  2. Goodness gracious! I've had a letter saying my boy was going to be weighed (he's just started in reception) and honestly I thought no more of it than him being weighed as a baby so I've agreed. This is awful though so will be extra aware of when it happens and I really hope that it isn't that negative an experience for Monkey xx

  3. I appreciate bad experiences like this and think the letters should be posted to parents rather than directly given to children. I do think it's important to encourage kids to eat well and stay fit and to measure their weight and things is great - but it needs to be done properly. I remember at school being shown a film about how animals were slaughtered for food I think I was about 12. Well it traumatised me and I went vegetarian for a few weeks.

  4. That is disgusting and the letter should be posted out and not given to the children either. Everything was handled wrong in this case.

  5. Wow, I can tell Sam was fuming while writing this. I'm shocked that the letter wasn't sent home rather than being given to her son. And how can the school's way of measuring kids be so different from the doctors surgery?

  6. That is just awful. I'm glad you got to the bottom of it before it escalated into a problem like your sons friend. I hope he comes through it too xx

  7. We've not had this here. Not sure I'd like this. Certainly don't think it should go to the child x

  8. I agree with Sandra - if they are going to do things like this, they need to handle it properly and with sensitivity.

  9. Wow. Despite working in schools myself, I've never had anything to do with the scheme and have no idea if my own children have been weighed or not.
    I do get the reasons behind doing it, but it really does need to be handled better.

  10. I have had the letter and initially wanted to decline him to have it done byt mu husband said for them to do it. I have previously heard of letters been sent to perfectly proportioned children and as a nurse myself it worries me hugely the repercussions of sending an 'overweight' letter to parents and children that are actually perfect! I know that my son is active, eats well and is not overweight but I kind of don't like the underpinning idea of the weighing of such young children, I know I should be more encouraging about it but I'm just not so sure.....sorry for the long winded response. Thanks for linking up #bestandworst


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