Over recent months we have become increasingly aware of the detrimental impact the use of mobile phones is having on our students. This includes an increase in negative online behaviour using social media platforms toward peers.
Concerns have also arisen nationally about mobile phones being not just a distraction, but when misused or overused, they can have a damaging effect on a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing. This is supported by the Department for Education and OFSTED reports about the negative impact phones are having on young people.
With student’s now accessing the internet via their own 3g/4g data plans and not through the school’s wi-fi – there is a concern about how we are unable to monitor what students are accessing which is a safeguarding risk.
By allowing the use of mobile phones during the school day, we are increasingly finding that students have been contacted by other people outside of the school environment and this at times can cause upset and distract them from their learning; it then also creates additional, unnecessary workload for staff which reduces their capacity to provide an excellent education for our children.
During a recent survey, sent to all parents and staff; 79% of parents (348 returns) and 80% of staff (62 returns) were in support of having no mobile phone usage by students during the school hours of 8:30am to 3pm.
The vast majority of schools do not allow students under the age of 16 to use their mobile phones whilst on the school site during the school day.
As a result, we have discussed our concerns with our Governors and we have all decided that from the start of the next academic year in September, there will be a ban on the use of mobile phones by students on the school site. This means that our expectation is that mobile phones are switched off and always kept in lockers or bags. It also means that during breaktimes mobile phone use will no longer be permitted. We feel that this will allow students to engage with each other and help to continue to build healthy relationships with each other.
Where parents need to contact their child in an emergency, they must follow our school guidance and contact the school receptionist who will be able to respond appropriately to the emergency.
We have shared this change in approach with students today and would encourage you to talk about the contents of this letter with your child at home so that they are fully aware of our change in expectations.