Parent power has prompted an Oxford primary school to rethink a plan to serve only halal meat.

Rose Hill Primary School used halal meat, which is slaughtered under Muslim religious law, in several dishes last year and in all meat dishes for a month-long trial last month.

It was the first school in the county to ask school meals provider Food with Thought to provide a purely halal menu.

The school has now decided to offer youngsters a choice of normal meat, a halal option or a vegetarian dish, and will use a wristband system to make sure pupils get the correct meal.

Lyndsy Johnson, 35, of Radford Close, said: "We're glad now that we have got the three options. That is how it should have been to start off with.

"It was a very big issue. Everyone was talking about it on the estate. We have definitely got parent power."

Parents only found out about the menu change on the last day of winter term - after halal meat had begun to be served.

Some parents were opposed to their children eating halal food, because they felt the animals were slaughtered in a cruel way. They said they should have been consulted about the changes.

Within days parents raised a petition with 220 signatures, calling for three choices for school meals - meat, halal meat and vegetarian - and met headteacher Sue Mortimer and school governors to discuss their concerns.

On February 8, Mrs Mortimer sent home a letter which read: "Whilst the trial was on I continued to have discussions with Food with Thought and am now able to confirm the school could have three choices at lunchtime."

The new menus will begin on Monday with children at the school in The Oval choosing meals at morning registration.

They will be given coloured wristbands to show dinner ladies their choice for the day, with a red wristband for meat, blue for halal meat and green for vegetarian.

Mrs Mortimer had told parents the school introduced halal meat as part of its inclusion policy.

She said because halal meat was not forbidden by any religion or culture it would allow every pupil to choose a meat dish for lunch.

She refused to comment on the new system when approached by the Oxford Mail.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said the school had bought new equipment to ensure halal meat and non-halal meat was kept separate during preparation.

Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said: "This is the best solution to improving community relations."

Before meat can be considered halal - meaning permissible - the animal must be slaughtered in a way known as zibah.

Animals must be healthy at the time of slaughter and the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe of the animal must be cut in a single swipe to ensure as little pain as possible. All of the blood must be drained from the carcass. The method is very similar to the preparation of kosher meat under Jewish tradition.

Other livestock is stunned using a bolt fired against the forehead, before the throat is cut.