The headteacher of a Southend primary school has come under fire from a number of parents after an email was sent confirming that the popular kids game HUNGRY HIPPOS had been BANNED as complaints were received saying that it ‘encourages children to overeat.’

We have been contacted by six different parents from Burdett Avenue Primary Academy to say that the email was a reaction to the school’s annual ‘game day’ – an event where parents pay £5 per child and they are allowed to play board games for an entire school day.

All proceeds are paid into the extra-curricular school fund that is used for excursions and science equipment.

One father, who wishes to remain anonymous, forwarded a copy of the email that was sent from headteacher Dr Mattelo Hasbro.

It said: ‘Dear Parents. Thank you once again for supporting our annual Game Day. The event raised more than £750.’

‘Unfortunately, three children decided to bring in Hungry Hippos for the event, and after a number of complaints were received from parents we must respectfully ask you to refrain from sending this game into school in future.’

‘The game involves plastic hippos trying to consume as many white balls as possible until all of the balls have been eaten, and after careful consideration both myself, the deputy head and our board of governors feel that it is giving children the impression that it is OK to consume large amounts of food in a very rapid manner.’

‘We are trying incredibly hard to promote healthy eating in school at the moment, and unfortunately games like this can be very counterproductive as they send the wrong sort of message to the children.’

‘We appreciate your understanding in this matter, and we would also like to thank you for respecting our ban on Mouse Trap over animal rights concerns.’

One of the parents who complained about the game was Nigel Bronlay, who told our Chief Reporter that his six-year-old daughter Naomi-Spelt had been ‘heavily affected’ by watching two classmates play the game.

He said: ‘I walked into my kitchen at 3am one night last week as I could hear a shuffling noise, and I found her with the top of her jaw over the edge of our dining room table, frantically trying to suck Maltesers into her mouth.’

‘I estimate that she must have got through at least a kilo of them by them by the time that I found her.’

‘The school has a duty of care to all pupils that includes limiting exposure to activities that could have a detrimental effect upon their lifestyle, and on this occasion they have fallen well short of my expectations.’