Education & Family

Teachers' 'hyperactive pupils' energy drink warning

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Image caption Teachers are warning that pupils rely on an early-morning boost from energy drinks

Teachers are warning about the risks of pupils staying up late at night and then relying on a boost from energy drinks before school the next morning.

They say it can mean an initial burst of hyperactivity and then an "inevitable crash" later in the day.

Teachers' union leader Chris Keates said a "significant number" of school staff had concerns over energy drinks.

The British Soft Drinks Association said teachers must decide "what pupils are allowed to take into school".

The NASUWT teachers' union's annual conference in Cardiff will hear warnings about the "negative impact" of energy drinks on pupils' behaviour.

'Consume in moderation'

They will raise concerns that "high levels of caffeine and sugar" are disrupting pupils' ability to concentrate and behave well in class.

Ms Keates says teachers have warned of pupils staying up into the early hours of the morning and then drinking several cans of energy drinks on the way to school the next day.

After a phase of hyperactivity and poor concentration, she says pupils "crash later in the day when the impact of these drinks wears off".

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"These drinks are becoming increasingly popular among young people and are often seen as simply like any other soft drink, but many young people and their parents are not aware of the very high levels of stimulants that these drinks contain," said the NASUWT leader.

But Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "It's worth remembering that coffees from popular high street chains contain the same or more caffeine than most energy drinks.

"However, like all food and drink, energy drinks should be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet."

Mr Partington said his association's code of practice says high caffeine soft drinks are not recommended for children, and high caffeine content drinks should not be promoted or marketed to children.

'Email intrusion'

The teachers' union conference will also hear concerns of "home invasion" and "email intrusion" from staff who complain they are receiving too many work-related emails outside of school hours.

Many staff say they are expected to respond to work emails in evenings and weekends, including from parents and pupils, and some reported being expected to answer work emails when they were on sick leave.

"It is unacceptable that teachers at home or when they are ill or on leave continue to be bombarded with emails at all times of the day and night," said Ms Keates.