An angry mum has slammed her daughter's school for forcing her to eat lunch outside in freezing cold conditions.

Karen Upton feels Locks Heath Junior School has gone too far and is putting her daughter’s health at risk.

But the school in Park Gate stands by its decision as it benefits pupils’ mental health.

Most parents learnt of the new policy this week after the children complained of being forced outside to eat their packed lunch.

A re-think of the decision is now being demanded by furious parents.

Karen said: “My daughter Maddison, who’s in Year Six, has asthma and in this weather, she suffers from a horrendous cough.

“She should not be outside and without her inhaler.

“Maddison has been ill a lot recently and she is off sick at the moment, and I ask myself, is this the reason why?

“It is good to get fresh air, but the children are being made to have their lunch outside.

“They are being treated like monkeys in a zoo.

“I drop my daughter off to school hoping she will be safe and well, but the staff are not ensuring that.”

Daily Echo:

READ MORE: School has 'classes of 150 students' due to teacher shortages

If her daughter was not in her final year of junior education, she would be removing her from the school, Karen said.

She added: “Maddison came home and told me she was freezing outside.

“I would like the school to give pupils the option of sitting inside or outside.”

The father of a Year Five pupil at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, described the move as ‘absolutely disgusting’.

He said: “The children are being kicked out of school for 40 minutes in the freezing cold to eat their lunch, and that’s not on.

“This needs to be highlighted as it is a massive failing.”

In a statement, Natasha Farrell, headteacher of Locks Heath Junior School, said both pupils and parents have responded positively to the changes.

She said: “We have always utilised outside space for picnicking on dry days and when it is not too cold.

“We use sheltered courtyards around the school.

“There is a benefit to children in terms of their mental health and because it reduces the risk of contagions.

“On cold or wet days, we eat inside the building. This is quite common in schools up and down the country.

“Children opting for a hot school dinner eat in our hall, with a few spaces made available for children with health conditions or when they are convalescing from an illness.”

Following the arrival of new picnic benches on Monday, February 26, more outdoor seating was created for the children.

"This arrangement enables more children to eat together freeing up staff so we can offer a greater range of play activities and enables a longer time to enjoy them", Ms Farrell explained.

She confirmed the school regularly collects the views of children about aspects of school life.