Comment: ‘Think of all the skills the kids can learn’

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What could be more wholesome and to be encouraged than an eager ten-year-old baking a cake for their school friends?

Apart from the straightforward pleasure of doing something just for the joy it will bring to others, think of all the skills that they will learn from this simple task. As BBC TV presenter Paul Hollywood points out in today’s paper, baking at home encourages a whole range of skills from culinary to basic science – far more than buying a treat from a shop.

It’s not something that you would do every day, but it’s an activity that can and does enrich the lives of thousands of children.

There has to be sympathy for the headteacher or whoever dealt with the issue at Bruntsfield Primary.

The growing awareness these days of the risks caused by allergies can make it feel like you are dealing with a minefield when you are organising food for children.

There was probably also a fear of being sued if a child did happen to fall ill after eating homebaking at the school. Perhaps there was a feeling that the potential problems made it not worth the hassle at a time when there are increasing demands on school staff. That would be understandable.

But just think of the consequences if this kind of risk-free approach catches on across the Capital. School fetes, Brownie coffee mornings and church bazaars – and their accompanying fundraising – would almost grind to a halt without the obligatory homebaking stalls. Besides, isn’t it sending out the completely wrong message to children to suggest that homemade is unsafe and shop-bought is the answer?

This curious ban has echoes of the one which swept the Capital 11 years ago, preventing parents from filming their child’s school nativity play. Then, only clear direction from city education leaders reassured schools that filming was OK. If there is any suggestion this is more than an isolated case, then the same lead may be needed again.