Surrey headteacher says mobile phone ban has helped with social interaction at his school

A Surrey headteacher has said a mobile phone ban helped with social interaction at his school.
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Education Secretary and Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has said mobile phones ‘have no place in our classrooms’ after the government launched a crackdown.

The Government’s plan to minimise disruption and improve behaviour in classrooms. New guidance issued today (Monday, February 19) backs head teachers in prohibiting the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including at break times.

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Mrs Keegan said: “Mobile phones have no place in our classrooms. 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.”

Oakwood secondary school in Horley. Picture: submittedOakwood secondary school in Horley. Picture: submitted
Oakwood secondary school in Horley. Picture: submitted

Oakwood School in Balcombe Road, Horley, banned mobile phones in 2015 and their headteacher Jon Gladstone says it had a positive effect. He said: “Along with many other schools, Oakwood School banned mobile phones several years ago, except for when a teacher directs their use in a controlled learning environment (e.g. undertaking a whole class interactive online educational test or subject specific apps that give instant feedback).

“This has made a significant difference to the social interaction that students have at social times. Students talk to each other and are not spending their breaks and lunchtimes staring at the screens.

“If a phone is seen, or heard, it is confiscated until the end of the school day. If this happens on subsequent occasions parents, or a responsible adult from the family, must collect it. It was hard work at the beginning but now it is firmly established in the culture and ethos of the school.”

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Many schools around the country are already prohibiting mobile phone use with great results. The Department for Education said the new guidance would ensure a consistent approach across all schools.

Jason Elsom, chief executive of charity Parentkind, said: “The government is right to be taking decisive action on the use of phones in schools, with our research indicating that 44 per cent 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.”