A Preston youngster was kept off school because dinner ladies refused to serve him Yorkshire puddings with Marmite at lunchtime.
Aryn Buchanan, of London Road, Preston, has been described as a “very, very fussy eater” by his parents, who are at their “wits end” in trying to deal with the problem, which has now led to him missing classes.
The 10-year-old, a pupil at St Mary and St Benedict’s Catholic Primary in Bamber Bridge, exists on a very limited diet consisting mostly of Marmite on either Yorkshire pudding or bread. He eats dry toast and, according to his dad Stephen Turner, has recently started eating chicken dippers. He also likes chocolate and sweets.
Catering staff had been making him Yorkshire puddings and Marmite for years. Now though, his parents have been told school can no longer accommodate his limited tastes and Aryn must eat school dinners or take a packed lunch
Stephen, who is disabled, said: “We have been trying for help all these years.” He said he is now desperate to find a support group to help him deal with the problem
Elder son Ryan, now 18, had similar problems when he was younger but “grew out of it.”
Stephen, said that Aryn’s mum Lesley suffers with ill health so although he doesn’t live with the family he collects his son from school each day.
He said Aryn was off school in May after catering staff said they were unable to make him special meals. But her returned a few days later: “When they called me in on the Friday they said they were refusing to feed him. I took him round to the school nurse who said she would try to get him a paediatrician.”
He has already missed a week off school since the new term started in September.
Aryn’s daily routine consists of either no breakfast, dry toast or toast and Marmite.
Stephen said: “Occasionally he will eat apple or banana or strawberries.
He drinks Vimto, Ribena and water constantly.”
Mum Lesley said she was incensed when Aryn returned from a three day residential to discover he had only eaten dry toast.
She said: “I sent him with a jar of Marmite and some snacks but he said he couldn’t eat them.”
However, it is understood that staff at the centre tried to entice him to eat and offered alternatives but he refused.
Stephen said: “We got a letter saying they had called the nurse and there was no medical reason for his case to be made special.
“We’ve been to the GP and they suggested CAMHS, child and adolescent mental health service.”
The dad said Aryn was entitled to free school meals and fears his mum would struggle to provide his packed lunches.
Lesley added: “I am making him Marmite butties every day. I am not happy with it. I do want to encourage him to eat but it is a really difficult situation.
“It would be nice to come to some agreement with them (school). It is hard work. I never take him to a restaurant, it is sad in a a way. I hate the sight of Marmite with a vengeance.
Anne Hardisty, headteacher at St Mary and St Benedict’s, said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on an individual pupil.
“However, we are always happy to work alongside parents and our school nurse to find a reasonable solution if children have difficulties which affect their eating, and we encourage children to try new things from the menu as well as eating what they already know they like.”
“I know this flexible approach is shared by our outdoor education centres, which have a good range of healthy, balanced and nutritious choices at mealtimes.”