NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne banned from taking school dinner photos
Published: 15th Jun 2012 11:37:25
A nine-year-old girl who became an internet hit after blogging about her school dinners has been banned from taking photographs of her meals.
Martha Payne, from Argyll, began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April.
Her NeverSeconds blog got more than two million hits in just a few weeks.
Argyll and Bute Council said press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.
Martha gave each meal a 'food-o-meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it.
But in a post published on Thursday evening, Martha said her headteacher told her not to take any more photographs for the blog.
Under the headline "Goodbye", the post stated: "This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.
"I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I'll miss seeing the dinners you send me too."
The council's decision to impose the ban came after the Daily Record newspaper published a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline "Time to fire the dinner ladies.."
Martha had been using the blog - which she started with the help of her father Dave - to raise money for the Mary's Meals charity.
An explanatory note posted on the blog by her father read: "Martha's school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I'd like to thank them all.
The decision, according to her father, was not taken by the school, which has been very supportive, but by the Argyll and Bute council.
It's not quite clear why - perhaps there is a ban on taking photos inside schools, or maybe there is some concern about the damage to the reputation of the school meals service.
I prefer to think there is another explanation - and that this is all a cunning plan by the councillors to draw attention to their beautiful region with its dramatic coastline, and fine cuisine.
It seems to be working - the case of the banned blog is rapidly becoming a cause celebre, with emails, tweets, and presumably phone calls arriving at council headquarters from around the world.
"I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha's photography.
"It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2,000 for charity is forced to end."
Mr Payne later told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme his daughter was not happy about the council's decision.
He added: "I can see that the photographs at the start didn't look the most appetising, but Martha marked the last school meal 10 out of 10.
"I understand that it's brought pressure from around the world and media interest, but that is really out of our control.
"But we are very supportive of the school - the fact that she has been encouraged to blog and she got permission to do this is testament to them.
"Everyone in the kitchens has been wonderful to Martha and she enjoys going into lunch every day."
In a statement released on its website, Argyll and Bute Council claimed media coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.
It added: "The council has directly avoided any criticism of anyone involved in the 'never seconds' blog for obvious reasons despite a strongly-held view that the information presented in it misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils.
"However this escalation means we had to act to protect staff from the distress and harm it was causing.
"In particular, the photographic images uploaded appear to only represent a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision has been made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen.
"There have been discussions between senior council staff and Martha's father however, despite an acknowledgement that the media coverage has produced these unwarranted attacks, he intimated that he would continue with the blog.
"The council has had no complaints for the last two years about the quality of school meals other than one from the Payne family received on 6 June and there have been no changes to the service on offer since the introduction of the blog."
Martha's blog was featured by media across the globe, with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tweeting: "Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going, big love from Jamie x."
After hearing about the ban, Oliver tweeted on Friday morning: "Stay strong Martha" before urging his 2.3 million followers to retweet the message to show their support for the schoolgirl.
Among the pictures she published was one featuring her £2 lunch of a pizza slice, a croquette, sweetcorn and a cupcake.
Martha wrote: "I'm a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I can't do it on one croquette. Do any of you think you could?"
The apparent decision to ban Martha from taking photographs has been criticised by Scotland's Education Secretary Mike Russell, who is also the MSP for Argyll and Bute.
On his Twitter account, the MSP for Argyll and Bute said: "I think the decision is daft and I will be asking the council chief executive to reverse it."
Can you remember your school dinners? We'd like to see pictures of your school meals. Send your images to email@example.com or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here. Read the terms and conditions.
At 21:06:53 in SportEngland's Steph Slater took silver as Australian teenager Maddison Elliott set a new world record to win the Para-sport S8 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
At 21:05:17 in SportScotland's fine medal run in the pool continued with Daniel Wallace securing gold in the men's 400m individual medley.
At 20:51:57 in SportCalum Jarvis broke the Welsh record twice in one day as he claimed bronze in the 200m freestyle final.
At 20:46:55 in EnglandA man has pleaded guilty to three counts of actual bodily harm after a liquid, thought to be ammonia, was sprayed on three men in south London.
At 20:46:39 in SportEngland won three gold medals and Scotland one on day two of the Commonwealth Games judo in Glasgow.
At 20:44:40 in SportSycerika McMahon leads the Northern Ireland challenge in the pool on Saturday with the teenager going in the 200m breaststroke heats at Tollcross.
At 20:32:41 in EnglandA dog that escaped into a neighbour's garden and bit a woman as she sunbathed has been put down, police have said.
At 20:30:44 in EnglandA man has been jailed for life for the murder of his brother following a family funeral in south east London.
At 20:28:35 in EnglandLow cloud has forced the cancellation of flights on the first day of the 26th annual Sunderland International Airshow.
At 20:17:48 in EnglandA man has been charged with breaching Birmingham Airport security and boarding an empty plane.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne banned from taking school dinner photos [Online] (Updated 15th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1434833/NeverSeconds-blogger-Martha-Payne-banned-from-taking-school-dinner-photos [Accessed 25th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
US chain Destination Maternity has withdrawn a bid for UK maternity and baby-wear firm Mothercare.
England's Steph Slater took silver as Australian teenager Maddison Elliott set a new world record to win the Para-sport S8 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Police are hunting a 42-year-old man who has been missing since 14 July.
US chain Destination Maternity has withdrawn a bid for UK maternity and baby-wear firm Mothercare.
When this picture of Ed Miliband's battle with a bacon butty hit the news, the Labour team pulled a few faces of their own. So why is the party's leader talking about how he looks?
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com