Sorting by


Will the school phone ban have any impact – fact-checked

The rules for how to enforce a proposed ban on mobile phones in schools has been issued to headteachers today, including the power to search pupils and their bags for devices.

“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,” Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said as the rules were unveiled.

The new guidance is non-statutory, meaning it is not enshrined in legislation and is merely advice.

It is made up of a 12-page document outlining how schools can prohibit phones, and a four-page document that highlights some hypothetical examples of what teachers can do if they catch a child with a phone.

Whilst the guidance states that schools should prohibit the use of mobile phones, it makes clear that they will have autonomy on how to do this.

Some of these approaches include allowing staff to search pupils and their bags for mobile phones if necessary, noting that “headteachers can and should identify mobile phones and similar devices as something that may be searched for in their school behaviour policy”.

Will the new guidelines have an impact?

Whilst it is difficult to know how these new guidelines will look in practice, concerns have been raised that the new rules will change little day-to-day.

The Government already offers guidance for behaviour in schools, that allows mobile phones to be banned and children to be searched.

According to this guidance: “Each school will have its own policy on mobile phones. Schools are allowed to stop pupils using their mobiles for all or part of the school day as part of their school rules.

“Schools may search your child if they think your child has any banned items.”

Despite this, mobile phones have been found to have a negative effect on the development and wellbeing of schoolage children. As such, it is possible that a decrease in phone-use during school hours will have a positive impact on children.

Tom Bennet, who advises the Department for Education on behaviour, 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.”

What do teachers think?

Secondary school teacher in East Sussex, Phil Clarke told i the Government guidelines will have “zero impact”.

“It’s the Government simply making it look like they are doing something,” he said.

“Kids are coming to school hungry, we can’t recruit teachers, many schools infrastructure is crumbling and they’ve produced guidance on something that every school already has in place – it’s so frustrating.

“All schools have their own policies on mobile phones, some put in lockers, some want phones not on the school site at all, but the vast majority have rules to keep phones switched off and in their bags.

“It’s just one of the many rules we already have in place. What’s next? Government guidance telling kids to put their hands up in class? To not talk over people? It’s total nonsense.”

Mr Clarke also said that schools already issue detentions, confiscate phones and consult with parents about their schools rules.

“Most schools have a parent-student contract where parents are told about the schools’ rules and they agree. If a parent is kicking back because a phone is confiscated, schools will be equipped to deal with this, we don’t need the Government to step in.”

Daniel Kebede, the general secretary of the National Education Union, told i: “Keegan’s school phone policy highlights a Department of Education that is in disarray.

“Let’s not act like mobile phones are a school thing, I’m 37 and I remember phones being in schools, they have been dealing with this for decades – it’s nonsense from a Government that is not in control.

“It is for the Government to make it look like they are doing things, when really they are not doing anything. the fact of the matter is, the real crisis is in recruitment and retention, low-paid staff, high workload – they are not confronting real issues.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button