Mobile phones in schools – to ban or not to ban?

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has called for mobile phones to be confiscated at the start of the school day.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Matt said mobile phones can have a “real impact” on academic achievement and called for more headteachers to “follow the lead” of colleagues who ban phones during school hours.

As well as being a distraction, Matt said mobiles expose children to cyber-bullying and questioned why pupils need to have phones at all.

Currently, schools are allowed to set their own rules around mobile phone use. So what’s the view from schools in the North West?

Rainford High has implemented a blanket ban since September 2017.

Ian Young, principal of Rainford High, said:If a phone is seen or heard, students will have their phones confiscated and then returned at the end of the day or when parents can pick the phone up if it is the second or third confiscation.”

Speaking to Educate Magazine earlier this year, St Margaret’s CE Academy and Gateacre School take a similar approach.

Ian says the benefits of the ban have been vast, particularly in relation to social media issues and the mental wellbeing of students.

“More students talk to one another at break and lunchtime rather than looking at their phones and the number of issues linked to social media have also reduced. The school is a better place for the use of mobiles phones being reduced by our young people.

“However, one challenge we must work on is how schools can utilise this technology for learning, so our students use the power in their hands responsibly and for the benefit of themselves and others. Unfortunately, we don’t have the answer yet but we are working on it.”

Stephen Brierley, headteacher at St Margaret’s CE Academy also believes there needs to a balancing act between banning mobile phones completely and promoting the positive use of mobile technology in schools.

He says: “If we can educate our young people about the correct use of mobile technology – about how it can be our servant, not our master – then surely enough young people will make the right choices.

“That means that as leaders, we need to stay ahead of the curve, as much as we can. Our policies need to be revisited and revised on a regular basis.”

What are your thoughts on mobiles in schools? Tweet us @EducateMag!

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