Mobile phone use banned in England schools for wellbeing

Mobile phone use banned in England schools for wellbeing
Courtesy: SolStock / E+ Via Getty Images

Mobile phones will be prohibited in schools across England under new government guidance issued this week, which supports headteachers in monitoring their use throughout the school day including at break times.

While many schools around the UK are already prohibiting mobile phone use with great results, the UK government said the new guidance will ensure there is a consistent approach across all schools. Examples of different approaches will include banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school, and keeping phones securely locked away at school.

UK 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.”

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

The government guidance responds to concerns from parents about mobile phones, with the latest data from charity ParentKind’s National Parent Survey revealing that 44 per cent of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices, rising to 50 per cent of parents of secondary schoolchildren.

“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,” said Jason Elsom, Chief Executive of the charity which welcomed the latest guidance.

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. 

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