A SUGGESTION to add a 'lunchtime lockdown' in schools in a bid to combat rising obesity rates has been dismissed by the council.

The idea was to stop school children snacking on junk food by adding in a stay on site policy on breaks and lunchtimes.

Other councils and primary care trusts in South Yorkshire are campaigning for secondary schools to ban pupils from leaving the premises.

But, in Barnsley - where two in five youngsters are classed as obese - the council said it had 'no specific jurisdiction' over whether pupils stay on site at lunchtime.

Claire Rick is a spokesman for the School Food Trust, said: "Children often miss out when they can go off-site for lunch, because evidence shows school meals are typically healthier than the food pupils bring into school themselves.

"Parents are behind this too as nine out of ten tell us they think schools should adopt a 'stay-on-site policy' at lunchtime, with many also agreeing pupils would eat more healthily if they weren't allowed to leave school at lunch."

A council spokesman said those schools not accessing the on-site service would be encouraged to do so.

"The local authority catering service provides nutritionally analysed menu choices in line with food-based and nutrient legislation," he said.

"In Barnsley 70 per cent of schools purchase from the local authority catering service, 81 per cent primary and 22 per cent secondary."