A SECONDARY school will search pupils' bags in a bid to banish unhealthy sweets.

Aureus School in Didcot announced to parents today that it will carry out 'random bag checks' at the school gate, after pupils were seen buying sweets at a nearby supermarket before class.

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A notice in the school's online bulletin this morning stated: "A member of the leadership team is outside Asda most mornings to help students get to school on time, and we have noticed an increase in students purchasing large amounts of sweets first thing in the morning.

"We will be carrying out random bag checks at the gate to ensure that all sweets are kept in reception until the end of school, as we have noticed an increase in the amount of contraband items including chewing gum on school site."

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The school's head clarified that 'a few random spot checks' have taken place since the school opened in September 2017, with sweets, sugary items and drinks removed and returned at the end of the school day.

Last year Aureus hit national headlines after the Oxford Mail reported on its food policies, which state pupils are not allowed to bring in packed lunches and must instead eat meals from its own canteen.

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Its lunch policy states: "Research shows that packed lunches are not as nutritionally balanced as cooked lunches. Unhealthy packed lunches fuel obesity.

"Food and nutrition is an essential part of developing the whole child, and research shows that healthy children learn better."

Meat served at the canteen is Halal-only and the only drink pupils are allowed to consume on site is water.

The Oxford Times:

Aureus School shortly after building work finished

The latest school menu offers pupils snack choices of toast, homemade cake, yoghurt, fruit, pastries or cereal bars.

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Hannah Wilson, headteacher at the school in Candytuft Way, explained: "Our commitment to healthy eating is a significant part of our wellbeing strategy, which includes our healthy lunches and educating our students to avoid unhealthy snacks.

"Healthy minds need healthy bodies and this is why we do not want our students to bring sweets, sugary snacks and drinks as well as energy drinks onto the school site."

She said staff have been working with the store managers of nearby Asda and Costa to 'support positive behaviour in the community' and 'discourage students from buying cheap, unhealthy snacks and drinks in bulk.'

The latest NHS figures reveal that almost one in five children finishing primary school in Oxford city are obese.

READ AGAIN: One in five Oxford children classed as obese

This month New Hinksey CE Primary School near Oxford announced a ban on cereal bars, to extend the school's healthy eating culture.

A newsletter sent to parents stated: "Please make sure that the morning snack being brought in for playtime is healthy i.e. fresh fruit or veg.

"We are no longer going to allow cereal bars as even ones sold as healthy have a very high sugar content and produce unnecessary wrappers."

Aureus School opened in September 2017 and will teach up to 1,200 pupils when all year groups are filled.

Last month the school became one of just six secondary schools across the country to receive a gold award from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence Mental Health Award for Schools, for its approach to pupils' wellbeing.