Gavin Williamson calls for mobile phones ban in schools:

Gavin Williamson calls for mobile phones ban in schools:

July 6, 2021

Minister calls for mobile phones ban in schools: Gavin Williamson wants to axe devices from classrooms amid review of pupils’ behaviour

  • Mobile phones could be banned from schools in England as soon as January 
  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a consultation on behaviour in schools, which will look at ‘creating mobile phone-free’ days 
  • Williamson believes the handsets can be distracting and potentially ‘damaging’

Mobile phones could be banned from schools in England as soon as January under plans being considered by the Government, it was revealed yesterday.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a consultation on behaviour in schools, which will look at ‘creating mobile phone-free’ days.

The overhaul could come into effect as early as the New Year or after the Easter holidays to help create ‘calm classrooms’. Mr Williamson believes the handsets can be distracting and potentially ‘damaging’ when misused.

Mobile phones could be banned from schools in England as soon as January under plans being considered by the Government, it was revealed yesterday (file image)

The clampdown comes amid growing concerns that pupils are using phones to bully each other on social media or for sexual harassment.

Teachers have spoken about the growing trend of ‘upskirting’ where boys take photos of female pupils and teachers without their knowledge.

Many schools are attempting to ban smartphones in classrooms, but it can be a struggle when parents are not supportive.

The Department for Education consultation will seek the view of families and teachers on how to manage behaviour.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a consultation on behaviour in schools, which will look at ‘creating mobile phone-free’ days

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has supported the plan to formally exclude smartphones from schools.

She told the i newspaper: ‘The new move is helpful. I think it’s generally a positive thing, it’s something lots of us have been doing for a while and I think there is a general groundswell of support for it.

‘If you look at France, they’ve had a mobile ban in place for three years and I think it’s gone very well. It’s a bit of a non-issue and I’m pretty sure that’s how it will be for here.’

She said that any ban in England would likely be along the same lines, with ‘Wi-Fi connectable smartphones to be left at home, or not used or taken out of the bag during school hours’.

Dame Rachel suggested that parents might want to buy children an old-fashioned ‘brick phone’ instead of smartphones in future.

Banning phones in school would also ‘take away the pressure a bit from parents, with younger and younger children having to be bought these handsets that are not cheap’, she added.

Some headteachers have objected to Mr Williamson’s position as an infringement of their autonomy, while others have argued there is a role for phones in schools to enable staff to teach young people how to use them responsibly.

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