Schools go low additive


Please let us know of any other schools that deserve to be on this low-additive honour roll. As you can see, the results speak for themselves.

"No other school district could be located which reported such a large gain above the rest of the nation so quickly in a large population"
                                                                                   - Dr S Schoenthaler

The definitive study: After a large 1980s New York study which saw a million students in 803 schools phase out additives in school meals over four years -

  • 75,000 students were no longer classified as learning disabled
  • schools' national rankings had risen from 11% below average to 5% above
  • "No other school district reported such a large gain above the rest of the nation so quickly ..."

 Read article

Schoenthaler, SJ, Doraz WE, Wakefield JA. 1986 – The Impact of a Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools, International Journal of Biosocial Research, Vol. 8(2): 185-195

Schoenthaler, SJ, Doraz WE, Wakefield JA. 1986a – The Testing of Various Hypotheses as Explanations for the Gains in National Standardized Academic Test Scores in the 1978-1983 New York City Nutrition Policy Modification Project, International Journal of Biosocial Research, Vol. 8(2): 196-203

2011 - an Adelaide Hills SA school  completed a highly successful "Eating for Success" two week additive-free trial with three classes under the guidance of Bronwyn Pollnitz. Today Tonight Channel 7 did a fantastic job putting together a story - see for the video "Additive free school".

2008 - Cooma North Primary School NSW - Behaviour and health were rated for 49 children who avoided food additives for two weeks and for 46 children who continued with their normal diet. RESULTS: Rating 14 behavioural symptoms, teachers reported that 69% of all children improved at the end of two weeks; parents reported that 53% improved. For children able to show improvement, teachers reported that 89% improved; parents reported that 59% improved. Parents observed that at least 25% of all children improved in sleeping, headaches, stomach aches, rashes or bedwetting by avoiding food additives for two weeks in a normal school setting. CONCLUSION: More than half of school age children may be affected by common food additives.

2007 - Nana Glen Primary School NSW - detentions dropped from an average of 6 per week to none during the additive free trial. See the video of this trial (very popular in France) and see how we did it: Eating for success Factsheet 

2005 - Palmers Island Primary School in NSW, staff, students and parents reported calmer, quieter children, 'not yelling out in class anymore' after a two week additive free trial. The changes were captured on camera and you can see this for yourself in the Palmers Island study on Sue Dengate’s DVD “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour.”

View the           Palmers Island segment of the DVD “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” or Larger version 3Mb.

2005 – Wingfield Primary School, London, joins Jamie School Dinners program in which TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver introduces fresh, natural, additive-free food to 160,000 London schoolchildren. After one month, teachers report an improvement in concentration, reading, writing, children are calm and none of the asthmatic children have needed their medication at school since the trial began. Jamie’s School Dinners DVD, available from

2004 - Acton Primary School, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia – makes an additive code-breaker card and a list of additive-free supermarket products available for students and parents and overhauls the canteen to ensure all its food is free of 50 additives including the bread preservative calcium propionate (282) – school principal Kay Foster - staff has already noticed a great improvement in the behaviour of Acton students, ‘suspensions are well down this year and many of our challenging children have settled to good learning habits in the classroom’ - Acton school adopts additive-free food policy, Gill Vowles, The Advocate, 8/10/2004.

2004 - Rosemeadow Public School, NSW, Australia - removed preservatives, coloured cordials and fizzy soft drinks and encouraged children to drink water or milk – school principal Michael Young - within six weeks, there was a ‘40 to 60% drop in certain types of behaviour that children were exhibiting in the classroom, and an increase of 30 to 40% in the length of time they could concentrate on a task’ - Undernourished, Catalyst, 25/3/2004,

2004 - Appleton Central Alternative School, Wisconsin, USA – a five year trial replacing junk food by bottled water, fresh juice and healthy preservative-free cafeteria meals and snacks – Superintendent Dr Thomas Scullen – student suicides, high drop-out rates, expulsions and drug abuse have dropped to almost zero, ‘thought that the experiment would settle the kids down, which it has done, but we were surprised at the result it had on academic learning’, the entire Appleton school district will convert to healthy food options this summer and a 14 minute video that explains the entire program is available for $10, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2003The Dingle School, Haslington, Cheshire, UK ­ an entire class of 6-year-olds was asked to avoid additive-free food (39 additives) at home and at school for two weeks ­ the trial was monitored by Professor Jim Stevenson from Southampton University and filmed by ITV ­ ‘ 57 per cent of parents reported an improvement in their child's behaviour and 56 per cent recorded better sleep patterns and cooperation’

2002 - Barnabas school in Drakes Broughton, Worcestershire, UK banned 27 additives from its school meals – head teacher Charlie Lupton - after two weeks staff noticed a marked improvement in pupils’ behaviour, ‘more than 30% of parents noticed their children were better behaved during the trial and 18% said their children were sleeping better’ -

2002 - New End Primary School in Hampstead, UK – banned children from bringing in sweets, crisps, chocolate, fruit bars, fruit juices and fizzy drinks in their lunch boxes – head teacher Pam Fitzpatrick – children noticeably better behaviour, ‘much calmer in the afternoons’ -

2002 - Charles Burrell School in Thetford, Norfolk, UK - replaced fizzy drink machines with water fountains – Claire Barker, the school’s literacy and learning co-ordinator - the water-only policy is helping pupils to concentrate and improving their academic performance -

2002 - Mason Moor Primary School in Millbrook, UK – pupils given their own water bottles to keep on their desks – head teacher Sue Nicholson – ‘children are beginning to appear quieter and calmer and much better able to concentrate’ -

2001 - Tywardreath School in Cornwall, UK – banned 23 additives from school lunches during one week in November – head teachers Gordon Walker – fewer detentions and children calmer -

2001 - Woodchurch Road primary school near Birkenhead, Wirral, UK – providing free bottles of drinking water ‘instead of drinking fizzy pop’ – teachers reported that ‘children became more alert with longer attention spans’ – the Merseyside Health Action Zone is to extend the ‘water is cool in school’ scheme to 700 other schools in the area -

2000 - Corstophine School, Edinburgh – encouraging the use of water bottles – assistant head Carol Wood – test results improving to the extent that they have already exceeded targets set for two years ahead -

2000 - Seaford College, West Sussex, UK – tuckshop switched from sweets and fizzy drinks to mainly cereal bars, sparkling fruit drinks and fresh rolls - headmaster Toby Mullins – after 3 weeks, anecdotal evidence was that classrooms were calmer -

1998 - Wolney Junior school in New Addington, South London, UK – a year-long additive-free trial in the tuckshop in 1996 was followed by a ban on unhealthy snacks which were replaced by fruit – head teacher Paul Winder - two years on concentration levels and behaviour have improved, the success rate in external exams for 11 year olds almost tripled and the school won praise as one of the most improved in Greater London. Its Key Stage Two test results in English, which were less than half the national average in 1996 with 23 per cent of pupils achieving expected levels, leapt to a 64% rate in 1998 - School leaps up the leagues table by Susie Steiner, The London Times, Thursday 20th May 99, News page 7.

1999 Waimea College, Nelson, NZ 18 year policy of providing healthy food; wholemeal bread and muffins baked every day; no lollies, cola or deep fried foods; only water, milk or fruit juice for drinks. Melanie Dicks-Drewery, School canteens: just what's on the menu for our children, Healthy Options magazine, March/April 1999, p60-63.

1998 - Whitehorse Manor School, in Croydon, UK, banned its tuck shop in 1994 and introduced fruit and muesli bars in 1998 - Key Stage Two test results have improved significantly across English, mathematics and science over the past three years - School leaps up the leagues table by Susie Steiner, The London Times, Thursday 20th May 99, News page 7.

1986 – trial of a low additive policy in 803 schools in New York, USA – artificial colours, two preservatives (BHA and BHT) and sugar removed from school breakfasts and lunches over a period of 4 years – researcher Dr Stephen Schoenthaler - associated with a nearly 16% increase in academic ranking compared to the rest of the nation's schools and a significant decline in learning disabled children, from 12% to 5% - Schoenthaler SJ and others. The impact of a low food additive and sucrose diet on academic performance in 803 New York City public schools. International Journal of Biosocial Research, 1986 (8)2:185-195. Details

1979 - Taupo Intermediate school, NZ - banned artificial colours and flavours. The principal noticed a marked reduction in entries in the misdemeanours book where he recorded incidents of bad behaviour. Children were asked how they felt after the change. Typical comments included 'I feel so much better now'; 'I don't get angry inside any more'; 'I don't get those awful noises in the head any more'. Melanie Dicks-Drewery, School canteens: just what's on the menu for our children, Healthy Options magazine, March/April 1999, p60-63.

The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians 

© Sue Dengate update February 2011