Parents back plan to ban mobile phone use in schools
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A growing number of parents are supporting a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones in schools, according to a new survey.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson outlined plans to make the school day mobile-free earlier this year, launching a consultation of teachers, parents and education leaders on managing good behaviour.
It could mean this is the final academic year in which mobile phones exist in schools as we know it.
Launching the review, Mr Williamson said: “Mobile phones are not just distracting, but when misused or overused, they can have a damaging effect on a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing. I want to put an end to this, making the school day mobile-free.”
Schools already have the power to decide whether they want to ban phones from classrooms, with two Norfolk examples including Reepham High School and Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.
Teaching unions and headteachers have dismissed Williamson’s plans, accusing him of being “out of touch” with the reality in schools and colleges.
Julie McCulloch, director of policy at headteachers’ union ASCL, said: “Many already ask students to keep phones in their bags during the academic day and others have positive policies in place that allow young people to make limited use of their phones to aid their learning.
“For other learners a mobile phone is an essential safety measure.”
A new survey has found six in 10 parents support a blanket ban on mobile phones use whilst pupils are in school, up from 49pc before the pandemic.
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Three quarters believe banning phones would stop their children from being distracted, found the poll by the comparison website Uswitch.
Norfolk parents sharing their views on our Facebook page drew a distinction between stopping use inside school and an outright ban on pupils bringing phones to school.
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Emily Kate said: “Children need them to travel to and from school safely but I don't think they should be using them while there.”
Stacey Blyth said: “Some children have to walk home - what if something happens and they need to call their parents?”
Lisa Daisley said: “I agree mobile phones shouldn’t be used while in school, but exceptions to the rules should be allowed. My son has type 1 diabetes and needs his phone with him at all times.”
Gary Starman said rules needed to be more consistent and transparent. “Some schools actually actively encourage the use of phones at appropriate times in lessons to complete tasks and research,” he said.