UK News

GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON BANING PHONES IN SCHOOLS INCLUDING PLANS WHICH ALLOW TEACHERS TO SEARCH PUPILS BAGS FOR PHONES

GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON BANING PHONES IN SCHOOLS INCLUDING PLANS WHICH ALLOW TEACHERS TO SEARCH PUPILS BAGS FOR PHONES
UK News

GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON BANING PHONES IN SCHOOLS INCLUDING PLANS WHICH ALLOW TEACHERS TO SEARCH PUPILS BAGS FOR PHONES

GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON BANING PHONES IN SCHOOLS INCLUDING PLANS WHICH ALLOW TEACHERS TO SEARCH PUPILS BAGS FOR PHONES

England Announces Plans to Issues New Guidelines to Curb Mobile Phone Use in Schools

In an effort to reduce disruption and enhance classroom behaviour, the UK Government have announced their plans to issue fresh guidance to schools, urging them to clamp down on the use of mobile phones during the school day. The move, aimed at fostering a consistent approach, follows the lead of many schools that have already implemented phone bans.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan explained that the guidance seeks to establish a  norm that discourages the presence of mobile phones in schools throughout the entire school day. Ms. Keegan acknowledged the current disparity in policies, with some schools permitting mobile use during break times while others enforce a complete ban.

This latest guidance comes almost three years after the government initially advocated for a ban on mobile phones in schools. However, one school leaders' union dismissed the move as a "non-policy for a non-problem," saying that the most compulsive use of phones tends to occur outside of school hours.

The guidelines present various methods schools can adopt to create a phone-free environment. Options range from a total prohibition of phones on school premises to rules requiring students to hand in their phones at the beginning of the day. Alternatively, schools may permit students to keep possession of their phones, provided they remain unused, unseen, or unheard during the school day.

The guidance emphasises the importance of school leaders developing and implementing policies tailored to their individual contexts and needs.

To address concerns over potential legal issues, head teachers are reminded of their authority in their ability to search students for items prohibited under school rules, with legal protection from being sued over the loss or damage of confiscated items.

Despite citing a survey indicating that 29% of secondary school pupils reported phones being used inappropriately during lessons, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) union expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the new guidance.

"Most schools already forbid the use of mobile phones during the school day, or allow their use only in limited and stipulated circumstances," said general secretary Geoff Barton.

"We have lost count of the number of times that ministers have now announced a crackdown on mobile phones in schools. It is a non-policy for a non-problem.

"The government would be far better off putting its energies into bringing to heel the online platforms via which children are able to access disturbing and extreme content."

Currently, there are no set in stone prohibitions on mobile phones in schools in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These regions have autonomous decision-making authority over education matters.

In July of the preceding year, the United Nations cautioned that phones pose a potential distraction for students and may contribute to cyberbullying. The UN highlighted that just under one in four countries globally have implemented policies prohibiting the use of phones within school premises.

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