A lesson in big business
There's a lesson in business for you Martha. You don't fix the problem, you silence the grass.
A Scottish council has been accused of crushing free speech by banning a nine year old girl from blogging about her school dinners. School Dinner by Glasgow blogger Veg, credit Martha Payne, used with permission Lunch at a primary school in Scotland: The first photo on the NeverSeconds blogpost that prompted a national media …
The "lesson" isn't finished yet and it may be Argyle and Bute council who get detention.
What are they going to do if she carries on blogging? They can lean on the school to introduce a school rule banning cameras, presumably with some pathetic child protection rationale, but the picture is out now and if she wants to carry on writing words in her own spare time then I can't see any way they can stop her that isn't a criminal offence.
As other's have said, the lesson isn't over yet. She had 2m visitors before the ban. How many hundreds of millions of new visitors will this ban generate. I hadn't head of it before today.
I've posted a comment on her blog suggesting that she gets round the ban by drawing pictures of the food, or by getting a friend who is good at art to do it for her. Other people have suggested the same thing.
At school I was bawled and shouted at by the head of IT at school (who was going red in the face) for 'ripping pins out of a VGA cable' whilst using it on a machine. He wasn't interested in hearing my excuse that some of the pins were designed to be missing on VGA cables... but on the upside, we had another teacher who was brilliant, got me involved in IT buying decisions and went on to inspire Apple's Jonathan Ive from his time at the same school.
AC seems to have assumed the kitchen she was raising money for was for her parents.
I suggest friend AC reads the article, in future - the lassie in question was raising money for a charity called "Mary's Meals"
Google is your friend. That, and reading the article.
"AC seems to have assumed the kitchen she was raising money for was for her parents."
I did assume (to the extent that I gave it any thought at all) it was for a business. Must have missed the final few lines of the article.
How cynical I have become.
So apologies for that, I clearly ought to have written "What clever publicity raising." (I hope all the outraged amongst you donated to the charity).
Still, assuming all of my cynicism was misplaced then at least the school is performing considerably better at English teaching than it is at PR.
Its tempting to join in!
I thought school dinners were bad at my kids school, but that is horrendous!
My kids school actively promote what they serve kids, almost every parents evening or similar has a sample of food available, and to me its always bland canteen food, but then again I have been spoiled by quality food available for lunch in London...
To use the old meanings for the terms:
Sacking (to give the person a sack containing their tools for their trade and sent on their way) is possibly not the right punishment.
Firing (to take said sack of tools and burn them to ash so the person is unable to work at their trade) might be more suitable.
The place 2 minutes from my flat in Edinburgh did them (I left there a while ago). They would deep fry pretty much anything. We were tempted to ask them to do hundreds and thousands but never did.
Everything that chippie did was revolting though. Mostly catered for late night drunks.
Deep Fried Marrs Barrs are reasonably successful in Australia.....
They are OK if one is:
a) Starving; or
b) In desperate need of a sugar hit.
But aside from that.....
They are all right, if there was absolutely nothing else to eat, and I was really hungy - I'd be OK with knocking down 2 or 3 or 4 of them.....
But I'd much rather have a GOOD (non McDonalds) Hamburger with the lot - meat, cheese, egg, bacon, tomato, lettuce, salt, pepper, sauce, beetroot, Chillie.... ANY DAY!
This is what the new RIPA on drugs act announced yesterday will help to prevent - young would-be terrorists endangering school catering industry and the council officials' jobs. Thankfully, the MI5 will now easily track down every
school food terrorist child if they try to circumvent the ban on posting pictures of their food.
Nice to see a 9-year old outsmart the council. Instead of just ignoring it, or even supporting it and thereby ensuring not much publicity, it's now a national news story. Way to go dimwits. I'm not surprised that people who can't even produce decent food for school children think the appropriate answer is simply to silence the perp rather than up their own game.
Shurley that should be "desultory croquette" as they only appear to get one of them..
I used to love school dinners, especially the puddings. Lovely big wodges served from huge steel tins. We couldn't go for seconds unless the entire table had cleaned up so food was swapped liberally, great team building exercise.
On another note. How can there be an obesity crisis if that's all the get nowadays? Pitiful.
Take your point but don't think we still didn't pig out on crisps and chocolate as well.
I suspect the difference is that we had a three mile walk to school and then the three miles back. No school run but then paedophiles didn't exist in my day. <-- Note: for those of who only see what they read, sarcastic comment.
By doing what they have done (censoring the young lady in question) they have managed to highlight the fact they give shitty food to the children and they are not prepared to serve (at least not in food terms unless it processed and full of sugar and salt) the people they are elected by.
Well done. You really couldn't have done any more to publicise the blog or the poor service you provide (save for taking out a front page advert on the google home and asking Mr Murdoch to highlght her plight in all his daily rag) than you have already.
Bute and Argyll Council - There to serve the needs of its voters (or itself). I salute you.
I was referring to the notion of it being a public building in that that term generally means free access to all.
As opposed to a publicly-funded building (there were some PFI schools weren't there).
As to what she can and can't do at school that should be down to the head-teacher - in so far as the governors let them.
What a stupid thing to say. It's a council run school not a private building and more importantly not allowing her to photograph the meals they feed her is censorship. Her blog used to have pictures of the shit food, now she's not allowed to post them.
Or was that irony?
"Re: Excellent Work by the Council
They haven't censored her. They've told here she can't take photos in a private building, she can still blog. El Reg readers are generally pretty critical of kids being allowed to take phones/gadgets into school IIRC."
Consider her a whistleblower.
...For the rocket scientists at Argyll and Bute Council who must be the only people on the planet too out of touch to have foreseen exactly how this decision would turn out.
Well done Argyll & Bute. Very well done indeed. Worth every penny of your council tax.
...And no, it doesn't matter whether it's a real nine year-old girl, her father pretending to be her, pernicious hippies or whoever: The council stuck a bloody great big luminous flag in it saying Lookie Here!
I saw the blog several weeks ago, and thought that she had a valid point to make; still not entirely sure how much she wrote and much was her parents, but even so, well worth reading.
However, I also suspected that it wouldn't be long before the minions of orthodoxy made their play and put a stop to it. The problem is that whatever the LEA did, they were onto a hiding.
Preventing creative thought in a youngster = ungood
Stifling free speech = plusungood
Being seen trying to hide what garbage is served up to youngsters = doubleplusungood
For the council, it is a PR nightmare, made worse by current allegation about their "Communications Staff" http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/council-chief-goes-online-to-spy-on-critics. (2012021377)
A lot of people are jumping up and down in outrage (possibly for quite valid reasons) but sometimes it might be worth taking a deep breath and then thinking about the bigger picture before overly outraged. No doubt there are those that will have seen the photo of her on her blog and would be outraged about the council allowing that.
I hope that "Veg" (Martha) decides to continue to write about the food she is being served, and just leaves off the pictures to comply with the council diktat. She has the opportunity to bring about some useful discussion and perhaps to influence a change for the better.
higher quality meals wold probably cost more to produce, the resulting difference has to then be passed onto the parents.
If the cost is too much then the parents go to providing packed lunches (which may be even less balanced nutritionally) and income for school meals goes down while production and distribution costs remain.
Its a sparelsy distrubuted population - and nearly 20% live on islands - so there's not much room for savings of centralisation of supply.
No, don't think they were onto a winner with school meals from any angle.
Really? And admit that they responded because of a campaign by a 9 year old? = doubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubledoubleplusungood
No council would ever want to put themselves in that position, whatever the rights or wrongs. Remember that these people do not see the world in the same way as you and I
I want the ban lifted on the photographing of the meals. After all, there will be parents who want to see what their child is eating and should have that right.
And I want the photographing to continue. The only way they should stop is when they become less interesting due to them being both healthy and tasty.
Perhaps we need a site, like trip advisor, where school meals can be rated.
Dammed if I want to send my child to a place that treats them like crap either by lack of teaching skills or by feeding them shit.
Quite. They seem to have become the standard in most schools these days. When I was at school in the 70/80's your food was served on a plate, like a civilized meal should be. You wouldn't think much of a restaurant or cafe which served your food like this so why do it at school?
Maybe I'm getting old and grumpy but these things look like something from a prison, you can't treat kids like items on a production line and then complain when they don't learn how to behave.
Like I say, I'm getting old...
Is it the astoundingly bad 'cuisine' at the school? Not only somewhat minimalist, but looks disgusting - and as a long-serving IT grunt, I eat some nasty stuff.
Or perhaps it's the blatant attempt to stifle any attempt at whistle blowing or even this kid's freedom of expression? It's a typical public sector mentality (not unique to this council or LEA) that everyone else is wrong except them and then to attempt to stifle any dissent or discussion from the public.
You are so hopelessly wrong, no amount of convincing you otherwise will be enough to repair the intellectual damage your idiotic comment has caused. Everyone who has read your comment and/or downvoted it is now at greater risk of epilepsy and/or brain cancer. I wish a license--only obtainable via an IQ test, which you must pass by scoring a potential IQ of 60 or above--was required before being allowed to operate a computer with an internet connection. I also wish idiots could be sued to oblivion for daring to post such drivel in a place where so many other impressionable minds will inevitably be exposed to it. That's the only form of pointless litigation I would support in the U.S.
Haven't you heard the expression that goes something like "pictures are worth a thousand words"? Just what the hell do you think blogging is?
Public participation in "democracy" is not permitted in the UK. Plus ca change!
So much for Cameron's "Big Society" because this is exactly the kind of thing the UK needs (Veg's blog, not the block or Cameron's empty pontifications). Still, having a 9 year-old showing you up as collection of money-pinching, selfish buggers has got to be a bit embarrassing.
A&B council is not unique - various councils up and down the UK do whatever they can to stifle any dissent or criticism.
How can you ban her from taking a photo?
I guess the old - no mobile devices in school could be used, however no laws have been broken and no persons have been defamed in the taking of photo's.
With all the leveson enquiry shenanigans it's nice to see a young journalist been enterprising and making some cash for the charity. As well as making people smile.
As for that charity, which will now surely lose out a bit, I do hopr the council are going to now put some cash in its coffers. Although I doubt it.
With their legitimate blogs with interesting stories.
If Martha had been blogging about anything else and had got her picture in the papers, you can guarantee that the Head would have capitalised on the publicity.
If I was in charge of El Reg I would be offering her a job. Lunch Register anyone? :)
Where everyone is expected to do more with less! I thought it only applied to more work with less staff, but more study with less food is equally relevant.
In particular I like the "Prison Issue" plastic plate, why not issue the kids with a spork and be done with it, good preparation for a future life of crime.
That dinner is pathetic, I remember school dinners in the 80's were more of a large scale home style food affair. Spag bol, fish pie etc. My cat eats better than that heap of crap.
I hope whomever made this girl feel like she had done something wrong is taught a serious lesson. Waterboardin in a vat of camels ass sweat would be a good start.
'Silencing' a 9 year old girl is an outright admission of wrong doing in the first place. Secondly the poor kid has been made to feel like she has done something wrong when she was simply telling the truth and trying to raise some money for charity. If the council don't want to appear like fools, don't act like fools.
I bet the food in their canteen is considerably better than a 'pizza' which probably doesn't even have real cheese on it, a scabby fishfinger, a few kernels of sweetcorn and a cupcake (probably bought enmasse with a 15 year shelflife rather than baked inhouse). I feel sorry for the dinner ladies as well, it isn't their fault they have to dole out this dross.
I hope some civil servant winnet on the arse of society is bricking it right now waiting to see the boss to explain why they are getting so much bad press. One pack of tesco value fish fingers says he gets the 9yr old blamed again.
Having read her blog, they are croquets not fish fingers :-) (its also head mistress not headmaster). What seems sad is that they can and do make half decent meals sometimes, just infrequently. 2 pounds (sorry us keyboard) is a lot to pay for that meal. I know staffing costs are expensive but that is cutting too far.
I think in the 80's it was about 70-80p but you got 3 courses and milk. God forbid you didn't eat your veg or the dinner ladies had their eye on you and you didn't get pizza on a Wednesday for a month! It was very pink floyd, how can ye have any puddin if ye have nae ettin ye meat laddie etc.
It looks like one young lady has managed to get a lot of change implemented and hopefully more to come. Nice of Jaimie Oliver to send her a book with a message Itas well!
It's just a shame the headmistress didn't stand up for the kid and tell the council to go stuff themselves.
Children should be encouraged to use technology whether it be programming, hammering nails into stuff or using software. Its all part of the learning process, we want everyone to learn but when they put it into practice they should be guided not just have someone throw their toys out of their pram.
Blogging to me looks like something that puts English skills into use (I could have done with some of that with my appalling grammar and spelling).
Comes across as rather lame. Were catering staff seriously worried they would lose their jobs because a 9 year old writes a blog reporting what she ate that day? it hasnt made me think they made the right decision
"Argyll and Bute Council wholly refutes the unwarranted attacks on its schools catering service which culminated in national press headlines which have led catering staff to fear for their jobs"
I'd fear for my job too if I was producing meals of the quality depicted in the article.
Some oxygen wasting deskwarmer somewhere went on a weekend junket to Thailand. Somewhere between the ladyboys and obscure drinks in a coconut (named for the devil apparently) the aforemention uncivil servant was taught how to click on the ms excel icon. From then on there was a downward spiral, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations cannot possibly lie, it says so on wikipedia. Many presentations later, extoling the virtues of outsourcing and the nutritional value of pet food, we have kids being served that crap.
Napkin maths shows I spend maybe 9-10 dollars a week on packed lunches. A flask of milk, yoghurt, fruit salad (half from the garden, half locally grown) and then either something like locally caught ahi sushi or a chicken or turkey sandwich. Teachers monitor the kids, fruit juice (the sugary junk kind) is banned and don't even think about soda or crisps etc. We make so much fuss about how butter is bad for you etc yet I know plenty of healthy 80-90yr old farmers who eat everything you shouldn't (2 fryup breakfasts a day, lots of roast dinners etc) yet apparently its better to sit on your arse and eat I can't believe its not recycled condoms.
JO showed that for only a few extra pence per meal per day, and with the help of the dinner staff you can deliver much better quality food. Maybe if the council spent less on pr they would have more money for services and less need for pr.
They certainly can't ban her drawing a picture of the meal like she's sometimes done when the camera wasn't available. And I think at this point, anything she doesn't post will be filled in with the reader's imagination which, given the state of some of those dinners, can only be worse than the reality.
The council have done themselves no favours here. They picked a weak target and instead of some encouragement, some hand-waving and then burying the whole affair they have managed to make an international news issue of it.
You know what, if the truth is JUST THAT BAD, maybe you should fix the truth and apply for more funding (what a perfect time for the local council to say it needs more funding if it's to provide better school meals!), rather than try to silence those taking an accurate photograph of what they were served.
Why is it that the student's are doing more than the teachers / heads / council nowadays to get things improving? I'm beginning to think the idea of a "free school", an example of which exists somewhere up north as an independent school where all rules and changes are decided by student panel, might be the right idea in that case. Hell, it's not long ago that the whole "schoolboy in a skirt" thing took to the news over similarly ludicrous school rules.
I don't know about the situation in this particular area, but the contracting out of school meals has had much the same effect as the contracting out of school and hospital cleaning staff. The whole thing gets done to the lowest possible legal standard so the most profit can be extracted for the company with the contract. Clueless power hungry middle managers work everything out on a spreadsheet and micro-manage the skilled and qualified staff on the front line.
You could fix the whole thing by employing a decent head cook, giving them a budget, encouraging them to shop locally, and sacking off all the professional leeches surrounding the whole process.
Just the fact that an official acting on 'our behalf' deems it ok to attempt to, in their eyes, silence a 9 year old really pisses me off. Jobs and contracts, I.e. the person weak enough to be pressured into this action (the job) by the contractor forcing the 'food' onto an unsuspecting child or children, our children ! All should be fired immediately with no chance of providing a pathetic excuse. I want to see heads rolling into a deep fat fryer, mars bar in ear optional.
That is one of the things that galls me the most about these scenarios. They never learn their lesson and they always escape any form of punishment. Right now they are patting themselves on the back about how well they managed the situation (that they created) and working out how it justifies a pay rise.
If I screwed up like that I would be sacked, hell I would resign if I ever had a head teacher go and tell a kid who was doing nothing more than telling the truth that she was doing something wrong. I know truth is a very flexible term to a politard, but it makes me sick that some kid was told off by someone she should respect on the orders of some coward of an uncivil servant, without the balls to do it themselves, for doing something we tell kids they have to do.
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