Please meet Ellen Arnison, who will be blogging for us during Social Media Week Glasgow. Ellen is a freelance journalist, writer and blogger from Renfrewshire. In her blog, In A Bundance, she writes about children, journalism, autism, feminism, writing and blogging for happiness. This blog post is about the now popular Martha Payne and it’s a good fit with one of our main themes, Education. Hope it will inspire you for an event submission at SMW. Thanks Ellen, and welcome aboard!
You’d have to have been living under a rock with no wifi to have missed the story about Martha Payne. Nine-year-old Martha from Lochgilphead Primary started a blog called Neverseconds a couple of months ago that records what she had for lunch at school.
Quickly it caught on, the prison-style tray-plates made the school dinners look less appetising than they were, or at least I hope so.
Her posts were well written, properly spelled and punctuated and her blog looked great.
Kids around the world liked the idea and soon she was sharing pictures of their lunch-time fayre.
She was even using her impressive online following to work at raising funds for charity. And things were going swimmingly.
Nick Nairn, shocked by the images on Martha’s blog (and perhaps remembering the publicity generated by Jamie Oliver) held a school dinner summit at his cook school.
It all went wrong after the Daily Record covered it and carried an article headlined “”Time To Fire The Dinner Ladies…”"
Obviously, if you have look, they don’t really want to fire the dinner ladies, it’s just that a subeditor wrote a mildly amusing headline based on the picture. A picture with fire in it!
Martha’s next blog post started: “”This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.”"
What followed was even more remarkable. The council got itself in knots over how, exactly, it would ban Martha from blogging. The legalities and civil rights of it were discussed. Martha’s dad Dave gave a good account of himself on Radio 4. Nick Nairn, Jamie Oliver and Education Secretary Mike Russell all pitched in.
By lunchtime, about which Martha wouldn’t be blogging, the council had performed a perfect U-turn and leader of Argyll and Bute Council Roddy McCuish said: “”There is no place for censorship in the Coucnil and never will be whilst I am leader.”"
What he should instead have announced was that Martha’s blog was to be encouraged and, in addition, each of her classmates was to start a blog.
Teachers and education departments across Scotland are dealing with – muttering darkly and enthusing by turn depending who’s asking – the new Curriculum For Excellence.
The headline is that teachers and schools can do their own thing provided that what they do falls under four ‘capabilities’
successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
As far as I can see Martha’s blog fits every aspect of every category. Neverseconds should be held up as a shining example of everything that education in Scotland is about at the moment. More power to your blog, Martha.
This blog post was originally published at www.ellenarnison.com