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I found this story about a little Scottish girl with her school dinners blog immensely cheering, for so many reasons.
If you read her posts, she rates many of her school meals quite highly, so one wonders what the fuss was about.
The council have since backed down on their attempt to muzzle her---what in the name of God were they thinking?
Oh, wait, they weren't thinking, they were probably just using their default management technique: BULLYING.
Her blog is worth a visit just to watch the counter ticking over! Well done, little Veg.
Hear hear, isn't she fantastic! Thanks for the links, I hadn't actually seen her blog, but I love it.
airya child in the news who is articulate, curious and who writes so well.
Not too sure about all this.
Imagine that your school had given a pupil,with your agreement,the right to take pictures in your class and blog about what happens in your class. Pupil writes a funny little blog. So far,so good.
However,a newspaper gets hold of it and writes an article that implies that your teaching is not up to scratch. Would you not be upset? Would you not expect the pupil to stop blogging?
Do you really think that she should stop blogging because a tabloid paper has taken the blog out of context and sensationalised it?
It seems that except for the shortlived knee jerk council reaction - which they reversed - the major beneficiaries have been the school's dinners (therefore the council) and the charity that sparked it all off. Well done dilly tabloids - shot yourselves in the foot !!
Well done to her and it's good to see that there are primary school children who are both articulate and literate.
However, on a more serious note, it's important to remember the headline that sparked the controversy.
It was the Daily Record's article and headline:
"Time to fire the dinner ladies .." which the newspaper later claimed was "light-hearted".
Really? Why would you fire dinner ladies whose job is to prepare - and sometimes just serve up - meals designed by others, usually on a very tight budget?
Here is another piece of misleading journalism:
"She (Martha) and Nick perpared a dish costing £1.05 - half the price of a school meal - and made up of healthy, fresh ingredients."
No, actually the sum allocated to the ingredients in a primary school meal is typically around 70p per pupil. The rest of the cost of the school meal has to cover staff wages, cooking costs etc and, needless to say, dinner ladies don't earn the wages of celebrity chefs.
Of course there is an argument to say that school meals should receive a far greater subsidy, beyond that for pupils on 'free meals'.
After all, the current MSP's restaurant and bar in the Scottish Parliament receives a massive subsidy from the public purse and is operating at 7% capacity after 5.00pm and costing an additional £50,000 a year. Why do I suspect they don't eat off little plastic trays?
Not to worry - ever mindful of expenditure, the restaurant and bar will now close in the evenings and the space will be used instead for MSP-sponsored receptions for outside organisations.
However, to compensate for the closure, the 'Scottish Parliament Corporate Body' has approved plans to convert two offices elsewhere in the building into another non-subsided bar, where drinks and light meals will be on offer in the evenings.
The SPCB will pay £75,000 towards setting up the "Queensberry House Lounge" and catering contractor Sodexo will contribute an additional £50,000 to the cost of the move.
Okay, it's probably just more misleading journalism but I'd love to see a blog started by one of our MSPs with pictures of their meals and drinks.
So what does the local authority do? It gets the big stick out and proceeds to lay into the kid. To make matters worse, after bullying her in this way, they then do a complete volte face under pressure.
I'm usually quite up for a bit of LA bashing but again,I'm not sure that telling her that the permission to take pictures was withdrawn can be considered as bullying. A lot has been made about the fact she was taken out of lessons to be told as if that was unsual. Anyone working in a school will be familiar with teachers of various types (from PE to the HT),taking a kid out of your class to tell them something or other.
However,I agree that the LA should have handled it better. What they should have foreseen was that now that the press had a story about the blog,anything else to do with it would become a story too.A better way to handle it would have been to speak to the kid and her parents and get them kill off the blog in a slower way.
catmother people commenting in the DR are blaming the paper's for causing the whole thing with their original headline.
Apparently, the "joke" headline (those who intend to insult and disturb shite, like the DR, often try to excuse themselves after the fact as making a "joke", of course) upset the dinner ladies.
So the problem was clearly NOT the blog but the newspaper.
But instead of complaining to the paper as it should have done, the council panicked and unthinkingly reesorted to what is clearly its usual management style: bullying, council to HT, and HT to child. Pathetic.
As I understand it, the child in question had permission to take the photographs of her school dinners and provide a balanced feedback on her blog.
She was, in the supposed spirit of a CfE, a confident individual, a successful learner, an effective contributor and a responsible citizen.
The problem was an irresponsible tabloid newspaper that chose to run an article, about a named school, with the headline: "Time to fire the dinner ladies .."
In addition, they featured another 'celebrity chef' who apparently knows how to produce healthy, freshly prepared school meals for half the price.
The dinner ladies who were simply helping to implement the council's school meals service, for a modest income, were not happy that a tabloid newspaper was calling for them to lose their jobs.
Someone decided a well intentioned project was being used by a tabloid newspaper to bully, and ridicule, identifiable employees in a named school as a bit of a joke and decided to call time on the project.
More senior officials and politicians, aware of the media backlash, public opinion and bad publicity for the council decided to reverse the decision.
Additional money appears to have been raised for child's chosen charity as a result of the story spreading around the world.
No doubt the tabloid in question will now capitalise on the publicity to sell more newspapers. In fact, I can picture the headline now:
"Daily Record Helps Brave Martha Beat the Bullies"
P.S. That headline is just "light-hearted".
At the Primary school that I work in ALL pupils hand their mobile phones into the school office at the beginning of each day and collect them at the of each day!
Flyonthewall75's summary of the situation is excellent.
What bothers me is how the Daily Record's came to write their article. Who told them and why?
The 'Daily Record' is the unofficial Sin Bin of education in Scotland - we all know that. Yes, there is egg on the faces of all, but why this became a hot potato when we have bigger fish to fry at the moment is anyone's guess.
I sense that the naive teacher who encouraged this blog in the first place, as well meaning as he/she was, is being very much protected at the moment.
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