Nine-year-old ordered to stop school dinners blog by head has ban lifted
Martha Payne, the nine-year-old schoolgirl from Argyll who became an internet sensation after blogging about the quality and quantity of her school dinners, has had her blogging ban lifted.
The 'Never Seconds' blog - 'one primary school pupil's daily dose of school dinners' - attracted world-wide attention from its very first post on April 30. Fans included Jamie Oliver, who tweeted that it was a 'shocking but inspirational' site.
Every day, Martha would photograph and rate her school dinners on the basis of health and taste. Her posts highlighted the sometimes tiny portions served, and the quality of the food on offer. One entry featured a slice of pizza, a single potato 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?"
She was told by her headteacher that she wasn't allowed to write the blog anymore. But after media coverage about the ban, she has been told by Argyll and Bute council that she can continue posting.
Last night, in a post titled ' Goodbye', the youngster said she was 'taken out of class' by her headteacher told she 'could not take any more photos' of her school dinners 'because of a headline in a newspaper today.'
Martha added that she was 'sad' she was no longer allowed to photograph the meals from her school canteen, and that she would 'miss sharing and rating' her school dinners.
She schoolgirl also expressed her upset that her fundraising efforts through the blog will more than likely come to an end - she started the site with the help of her dad, Dave, in order to raise funds for the charity Mary's Meals, a worldwide school feeding project.
Writing a footnote to Martha's post, her dad said: "I felt it's important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha's school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I'd like to thank them all. 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 £2000 for charity is forced to end."
The Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell took to Twitter to express his outrage on the photography ban, tweeting: "I think the decision is daft and I will be asking the council chief executive to reverse it."
Speaking about the U-turn, Roddy McCuish, the SNP leader told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "There's no place for censorship in Argyll and Bute Council and there never has been and there never will be.
"I've just instructed senior officials to immediately withdraw the ban on pictures from the school dining hall. It's a good thing to do, to change your mind, and I've certainly done that."
We're very pleased to hear it!
Wouldn't you love to see exactly what your child was eating for school dinners?