An analysis of 50 schools by The Telegraph has found that they are increasingly cracking down when it comes to the use of mobile phones by pupils.
Some schools are confiscating the devices for between 24 hours and 10 weeks for repeat offences, others have introduced more frequent searches for phones for those who break the ban on using them, while the strictest school of all, a free school in North London ruled that any phone confiscated two weeks before the end of term would only be returned the following half-term, potentially leaving pupils bereft of their mobile device for the entire summer holiday.
As this newspaper has previously pointed out, a total ban on phones is not necessarily desirable, as schools must be able to communicate with their pupils through mobile phones if they choose, both to make announcements, or set homework topics, or to use the technology for educational purposes, saving schools the costs of computers. Moreover, parents expect to be able to contact their offspring when they are not at home.
Nevertheless, it is refreshing to hear that Ofsted, despite not having a “preferred approach” on school phones policies, will support heads who take a tough stance on banning mobile phones in a bid to tackle classroom disruption. Empowering head teachers to tackle problems as they see fit is exactly what the inspection body should be doing.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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