A school's attempt to toughen up the "snowflake" generation by forcing them to play outside in the rain has met with a backlash from furious parents.

The head of Piper's Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich has insisted that playing in the rain is a "normal" part of children's development but parents said they are "disgusted" by the new policy, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The school, which is part of the Paradigm Trust, has introduced a "wet play" lunchtime and break policy, arguing that it is important to encourage youngsters to have exercise and fresh air.

However, some parents have voiced their outrage, with one mother, Annemarie Fletcher, complaining that her daughter came home from school "drenched".

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She said: "It's disgusting - they were made to stay outside in the pouring rain. I wouldn't have put my dog out there. They were wet and cold all afternoon.

"For my youngest daughter, we had to put her shoes on the radiator all night to get them dry. My house was like a sauna, and that'll put up heating bills."

Another mother, Gem Digby wrote on Facebook that "nobody is arguing about a bit of drizzle" but parents are angry because the children were "left out in downpour" earlier this week.

Ben Carter, the school's executive principal, apologised to parents for not communicating the change in policy to them but urged them to send their children to school with "suitable footwear and a winter coat or jacket."

He defended the "wet play" approach, saying: "Compared with previous generations, children today spend a lot of their time looking at screens and staying indoors. Many have relatively sedentary lifestyles.

"Paradigm Trust academies place great value on outdoor play and exercise as part of children's education and wellbeing. This is why we encourage our pupils to make the most of their time outside during lunch and breaks, even in damp conditions.

"This type of wet play is part of children's normal development. However, in adverse conditions, we will, of course, provide options for pupils to play and be supervised indoors.

"The school has written to all parents and carers to inform them of the policy and ask them to ensure their children have suitable clothing."