Mobile phones set to be prohibited in schools across England

0
74

Mobile phones are set to be prohibited in schools across England as part of the government’s plan to minimise disruption and improve behaviour in classrooms. 

The move will bring England in line with steps taken by other countries who have restricted mobile phone use including France, Italy and Portugal.  

Schools will receive new guidance on prohibiting mobile phone use during the school day.

New guidance issued today (Monday 19 February) backs head teachers in prohibiting the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including at break times.  

Many schools around the country are already prohibiting mobile phone use with great results. This guidance will ensure there is a consistent approach across all schools. 

By the age of 12, 97% of children have their own mobile phone, according to Ofcom. Using mobile phones in schools can lead to online bullying, distraction and classroom disruption which, in turn, can lead to lost learning time.  

Last year, Unesco called for smartphones to be banned from schools as evidence showed it was linked to reduced educational performance and that excessive screen time had a negative impact on children’s wellbeing. 

Schools will be supported to prohibit mobile phone use with examples of different approaches including banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school, and keeping phones securely locked away at school.  

The guidance will respond to concerns from parents about mobile phones, with the latest data from ParentKind’s National Parent Survey, revealing that 44% of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices, rising to 50% of parents of secondary school children. 

Driving high expectations of behaviour is a priority say the government, building on the £10 million investment in behaviour hubs which will support up to 700 schools over three years, as well as existing behaviour in schools guidance

The Government say they are making long-term decisions to ensure all pupils have world class education. This guidance builds on that work which has delivered 89% of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, up from just 68% in 2010.  

The Government add: “Our plan is working with school standards rising across the board. England has catapulted up the international rankings for academic attainment through our multimillion-pound maths and English hubs programme and phonics screening check. We are now one of the top performing countries in the Western world for maths and reading and the government will continue to build on this progress by delivering crucial reforms including by creating the Advanced British Standard.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: 

Schools are places for children to learn and mobile phones are, at a minimum, an unwanted distraction in the classroom.

We are giving our hard-working teachers the tools to take action to help improve behaviour and to allow them to do what they do best – teach. 

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: 

Growing up in today’s digital world provides immense opportunities but this should not come at the expense of our children’s wellbeing or education. That is why we have passed world leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world for young people to be online.

Today’s announcement will support parents and educators further, helping give the next generation the best chance to realise their potential.

Lead Behaviour advisor to the Department Tom Bennett said: 

Mobile phones may be ubiquitous, but we have a strong and growing understanding of how damaging they can be for a child’s social and educational development. And it’s the least advantaged who suffer most. Many schools already have some kind of policy on phones, but this guidance provides a clear steer for everyone, including parents, about what’s right and what’s not for the wellbeing of the child.  

Heads can know that they’ll be backed in their attempt to build safe and nurturing cultures, and they’ll find advice about how to make schools a phone-free environment.  And when that happens, everyone wins.

Chief executive of Parentkind Jason Elsom said: 

The government is right to be taking decisive action on the use of phones in schools with our research indicating that 44% of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices and more than three quarters of parents support a ban on phones in schools. This is the number one concern for parents, according to the National Parent Survey.  

Society has sleepwalked into a position where children are addicted to harmful ‘electronic drugs’, and have no-escape from their digital dealers, not even within the relatively safe grounds of their schools.

The latest government data finds around a third (29%) of secondary school pupils reported mobile phones being used when they were not supposed to in most, or all, lessons.  

Schools have seen success in prohibiting mobile phones through tactics such as introducing lockers with charging points for students to ensure they don’t come into classrooms.  

One school referenced in the guidance introduced this change and saw a positive impact overnight and within one year the whole culture of the school had changed. Without access to mobile phones, pupils have the headspace and calm environment to learn, and staff have the quiet and focus to teach in. 

The move will bring England in line with steps taken by other countries who have restricted mobile phone use including France, Italy and Portugal.  

The behaviour hubs enable schools across the country with exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with schools that want and need to turn their behaviour around. 

Alongside this, we have taken steps to improve behaviour through the appointment of a behavioural taskforce led by DfE’s behaviour tsar Tom Bennett, with the aim of improving behaviour culture and spread good practice across the country.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here