Rishi Sunak govt bans mobile phones in all schools across England

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Mobile phones will be prohibited in schools across England under new government guidance issued on Monday. The guidance by Rishi Sunak government supports headteachers in monitoring the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including break times. The new policy aims to ensure a consistent approach across all schools in the country. Schools will have the option to implement different approaches, such as banning phones from the premises, collecting phones upon arrival, or securely storing them during school hours.

UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan stated, ‘Schools are places for children to learn, and mobile phones are an unwanted distraction in the classroom. We are providing teachers with the tools to improve behavior and focus on teaching.’

According to the UK media watchdog Office of Communications (OFCOM), 97% of children own a mobile phone by the age of twelve. The Department for Education (DfE) highlights that using mobile phones in schools can lead to online bullying, distraction, and disruption, resulting in a loss of learning time.

UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan emphasized the need to prioritize children’s wellbeing and education in the digital era. ‘While growing up in a digital world offers opportunities, we must ensure it doesn’t negatively impact our children. The UK has implemented legislation to make it the safest place for young people online,’ she said.

The government’s decision is in response to parental concerns about mobile phone usage. A survey conducted by charity ParentKind revealed that 44% of parents worry about their children spending too much time on electronic devices. This concern increases to 50% among parents of secondary school students.

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive of ParentKind, expressed support for the government’s guidance and highlighted the addictive nature of electronic devices. ‘Children have become addicted to harmful electronic drugs, with no escape even within the supposed safety of their schools,’ Elsom said.The Department for Education cites successful strategies employed by schools to prohibit mobile phone use. One example mentioned in the guidance is the introduction of lockers with charging points, ensuring that phones are not brought into classrooms. Schools that have implemented this change have reported positive impacts on student behavior and overall school culture.

The government’s decision brings England in line with other European countries that have already restricted mobile phone use in schools, including France, Italy, and Portugal.

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