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HomeEducation / CultureUK Government launches crackdown on mobile phones in schools

UK Government launches crackdown on mobile phones in schools

By Caribbean News Global fav

LONDON, England – 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. New mobile phones in schools guidance issued 19 February 2024 backs headteachers in prohibiting the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including at break times.

The Department for Education said: “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 percent 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.

The UK new guidelines advised that 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 percent of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices, rising to 50 percent of parents of secondary school children. Driving high expectations of behaviour is a priority for the government, building on our £10 million investment in behaviour hubs which will support up to 700 schools over 3 years, as well as existing behaviour in schools guidance.

The new guidance on prohibiting mobile phone use during the school day continued: “We are making long-term decisions to ensure all pupils have world-class education. This guidance builds on that work which has delivered 89 percent of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, up from just 68 percent in 2010. 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.”

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 percent 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. Our 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,” said, the Department for Education. “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.”

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