Canvey Island school bans triangle shaped flapjacks

Jon Brain: Critics say Castle Hill School's flapjack ban is "half-baked"

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A school's decision to ban triangular flapjacks after a pupil was hurt has been labelled "half-baked" by the Health and Safety Executive.

It follows an incident at Castle View School in Canvey Island, Essex, when a boy was hit in the face by a flapjack.

Catering staff at the school have been told only to serve square or rectangular flapjacks.

The school said the "isolated accident" had led to a review of "the texture and shape of the flapjacks" provided.

'Over the top'

A three-point guide to flapjacks

  • Flapjacks are chewy biscuits made from rolled oats, golden syrup or honey, fat (usually butter) and sugar
  • They are baked in a flat tin and cut into squares, rectangles or any other shape while still warm
  • Use of the word 'flapjack' dates back to the 17th Century according to the Oxford English Dictionary

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: "We often come across half-baked decisions taken in the name of health and safety, but this one takes the biscuit.

"The real issue isn't what shape the flapjacks are, but the fact that pupils are throwing them at each other - and that's a matter of discipline, and has got nothing to do with health and safety as we know it.

"We're happy to make clear that flapjacks of all shapes and sizes continue to have our full backing."

Health and safety advisor Ray Hurst said he could not understand why triangular flapjacks had been banned, but not those cut into squares or rectangles.

"Anything that is thrown is likely to cause injury if it hits somebody, especially in the face or the eye," said Mr Hurst, former president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

"It does seem a little over the top to ban triangular flapjacks," he said.

Essex County Council said it did not give schools guidance on the shapes of foodstuffs.

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