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Tes Editorial

Girl banned from photographing school dinners

Nine-year-old Martha Payne's blog NeverSeconds, in which she reviewed and photographed her school dinners, received international attention when it was banned, then swiftly unbanned, by Argyll and Bute Council.

She seems bright and articulate and lots of kids make detailed diary entries about their everyday habits. The meals look a bit small and the fruit and veg are as always an afterthought, but if it's anything like our school most of the green stuff goes in the bin.


My gut reaction was that the council was foolish but on further consideration...many councils have policies about the taking of photographs - I expect Argyll and Bute do and that led to the ban, not the fear of "exposure" of poor food. However, the fact that she has raised a considerable amount for charity is commendable.


I loved my school dinners. They were a bit stodgy but they were freshly cooked on the premises. Some of the puddings were epic. It all went downhill when they junked proper kitchens. Martha's blog is terrific. The posts from followers around the world of their dinners add another dimension. The fallout for the charity is serendipitous. Well done her.


Why are so many teachers taking the girl's side in this? Isn't it considered wrong, even a sackable offence, if we take pictures in school? Then why should we allow some precocious tyke to start doing it? It may seem trivial but what next? If we allow a child to blog about one thing, then how long will it be before children are blogging, with photos and video clips, about teachers' classes?

Ivor Novello

It would appear that this girl's blog led to the council offering unlimited salad. Up until then, it had been one spoonful per child.


I remember there being two choices of food at my primary - what was cooked, or what your mum made for you. If you opted for the former, you were given unappetising but filling splodges of foodstuffs. What was put on to your plate had to be eaten. We never complained. We knew our place. We will outlive the kids of today.


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