Schools to ban energy drinks following NASUWT’s research

An article published on BBC News Health[1] has emerged, detailing that one of the UK’s largest teaching unions, NASUWT, is calling for a ban on energy drinks in schools nationwide. The beverages have been described as “readily available legal highs” due to their high caffeine levels, however the British Soft Drinks Association upholds that the drinks are safe for consumption.

Following research undertaken by academics from FUSE (Centre for Transitional Research in Public Health in the North East), children have admitted to purchasing energy drinks because they are “cheaper than water or pop”, with some costing as little as 25p and being readily available from vending machines, supermarkets and corner shops.

Many energy drinks are “not recommended for children”, with the European Food Safety Authority guidelines stating that an average 11-year-old should not consume more than 105mg caffeine per day. Research has shown that the caffeine content of a single 500ml can is 160mg and, therefore, these drinks are having a detrimental effect on the concentration and behaviour of children in the classroom.

Darren Northcott, NASUWT national official for education has stated: “We have always been clear that drinks with high levels of sugar should not be sold on school premises. It is time to look again at the School Food Standards, and the enforcement of the standards, to make sure that every school in the country is free of highly-caffeinated soft drinks, as well as those that are high in sugar.”