Following a massive on-line and media reaction on Friday June 15 2012 to Argyll and Bute Council ‘s ban on a Lochgilphead school girl posting photos of her school meals on her blog Never Seconds,the council has been told to do a u-turn.
Martha Payne posted pictures of school meals at Lochgilphead Joint Campus and rated them on her blog,which achieved national attention,as part of a school writing exercise.
But after a headline in a national newspaper on June 14 calling for the dinner ladies to be sacked,the council told Martha via her head teacher that she could no longer take photos of her school meals.
Martha then posted that she would not be continuing the blog as a result,leading to overwhelming condemnation of the council across Twitter,facebook and other social media.
In a u-turn council leader Councillor Roddy McCuish told a national radio station at lunchtime on Friday,June 15,that he had instructed ‘senior officials to withdraw the ban on pictures in the school dining hall’.
This was followed by this statement:
‘There is no place for censorship in this Council and never will be whilst I am leader. I have advised senior officers that this Administration intends to clarify the Council’s policy position in regard to taking photos in schools. I have therefore requested senior officials to consider immediately withdrawing the ban on pictures from the school dining hall until a report can be considered by Elected Members. This will allow the continuation of the “Neverseconds”blog written by an enterprising and imaginative pupil,Martha Payne which has also raised lots of money for charity.
‘But we all must also accept that there is absolutely no place for the type of inaccurate and abusive attack on our catering and dining hall staff,such as we saw in one newspaper yesterday which considerably inflamed the situation. That,of course,was not the fault of the blog,but of the paper.
‘We need to find a united way forward so I am going to bring together our catering staff,the pupils,councillors and council officials –to ensure that the council continues to provide healthy,nutrious and attractive school meals. That “School Meals Summit”will take place later this summer.
‘I will also meet Martha and her father as soon as I can,along with our lead councillor on Education,Michael Breslin to seek her continued engagement,along with lots of other pupils,in helping the council to get this issue right. By so doing Martha Payne and her friends will have had a strong and lasting influence not just on school meals,but on the whole of Argyll and Bute.’