Tonbridge and Malling primary pupils debate sugar issues with Mayor
by Andy Tong | 19th April 2019
WITH the local elections coming up, more than 40 pupils from 10 primary schools across Tonbridge & Malling have held a debate and voted upon issues that concerned them.
The Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Pam Bates, took part in the exchange of views on the subjects of sugar consumption and school uniform.
The schools were invited to the Council Chamber in Kings Hill to give young people the opportunity to learn more about local government.
They talked to Cllr Bates about her role as First Citizen of the borough, and she showed them around the Mayor’s Parlour.
“The issue of high sugar levels, so often ‘hidden’ in everyday foods and drinks, is currently high on the public health agenda,” said Cllr Bates.
“Today we have had a very interesting discussion about this topic, and it is encouraging to hear the children’s views and to find that they are very aware of the health issues surrounding the intake of too much sugar.
“It points to them taking responsibility for their own health matters in the future.”
The votes cast for the question, ‘Should we be concerned about the amount of sugar in certain food and drinks?’, found 40 in favour of the motion and one against.
They said that sugar can make you hyperactive, and although it can give you an energy boost, a few hours later you will have an energy dip.
The pupils also said it rots teeth, can make you obese and lead to illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
The view against the motion was: If you are in a bad mood, sugar helps you feel better and gives you instant energy.
There was a far greater variance of opinion when voting on the question, ‘should schools ban birthday sweets?’; 18 said yes and 23 said no.
A majority felt it was acceptable to have treats in school on a birthday but there were concerns about allergies, bullying and social exclusion.
They were overwhelmingly in favour of primary school children wearing school uniform, with 33 saying they should and only eight disagreeing.
Those in favour said it stops bullying if all pupils are wearing the same clothes, and there is less stress on what to wear in the morning.
They also said uniforms are smart, give a sense of belonging and symbolise their school, and stop expensive home clothes from being ruined.
Those who were against wearing uniform said that some school clothes are too expensive and they can be uncomfortable, for example if you have to wear ties.
Tracey Hand of More Park School in West Malling, said: “We have had a rewarding time with the Mayor and the debate about sugar and school uniform has been a lively one!
“The children have found the whole experience really enjoyable and interesting.”
Debating primary schools:
Stocks Green, Hildenborough
Fosse Bank, Hildenborough
More Park, West Malling
Valley Invicta at Aylesford
Valley Invicta at Holborough Lakes
Kings Hill; Plaxtol
Long Mead Community, Tonbridge.