Mobile phones will be prohibited in public school classrooms, as announced today by the Secretary of Education.
Gillian Keegan will ban smartphones from classrooms during both lessons and breaks to ensure pupils can concentrate, the Daily Mail reported.
Sources close to the discussions say Keegan will issue new guidelines to schools requiring them to implement new measures to prevent students from using their phones.
A source told The Daily Mail: “Gillian believes mobile phones pose a serious challenge in terms of distraction, disruptive behavior and bullying. It is one of the biggest problems that children and teachers have to face, so she will set a path forward to train teachers to ban cell phones in classrooms.”
Ms Keegan will outline the policy at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
The then Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, previously proposed a ban on the devices in schools in 2021, when he warned that smartphones were “distracting” and “harmful”.
At the time, he said: “Mobile phones are not only distracting, but when misused or overused, they can have a detrimental effect on a student’s mental health and wellbeing. I want to put an end to this by making the school day cell phone-free.
“In order for us to help students overcome the challenges of the pandemic and increase opportunities for all young people, we must ensure they can benefit from calm classrooms that help them thrive.”
However, headteacher organizations suggested he seemed “obsessed” with mobile phones, and Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton said at the time that headteachers would prefer “an ambitious post-pandemic recovery plan”. instead of “playing MPs” on the issue.
Their proposals were supported by Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner for England. However, his successor, Nadhim Zahawi, dismissed the idea of a ban last year.
Some schools already impose mobile phone bans. Katharine Birbalsingh, headteacher at Michaela Community School in north London, requires children to put their phones in a locker when they arrive at school.
In June, Education Minister Nick Gibb said he supported banning smartphones in classrooms so pupils could spend more time learning and socialising, and suggested parents concerned about their children’s safety while walking to and from school could provide them with greater Instead, use a basic “traditional phone.”
He said: “Katherine talks about these children who stay up all night until 1am, typing on their mobile phones and then arrive at school half asleep and therefore not concentrating.
“So she is very, very determined. And she also says ‘if she worries you about the trip from home to school and that’s why they need a phone, give them a landline.’”
This year, Finland declared it would ban mobile phones in classrooms to reverse its falling exam results, having seen its generally good performance in the Program for International Student Assessment assessment of 15-year-old students in mathematics. , science and reading decline since 2006.
And in September, King Charles’ alma mater Gordonstoun, a co-educational boarding school in Moray, Scotland, also banned “addictive” devices, saying pupils must leave smartphones in their boarding houses during the school day and hand them to staff during the night.
A United Nations report released over the summer recommended banning the use of these devices in schools to improve student concentration and reduce bullying.
UNESCO, the United Nations education, science and culture agency, said evidence showed that excessive mobile phone use was linked to poorer educational outcomes, and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay added: “The The digital revolution has immeasurable potential but, as they warn “Opinions have been expressed about how it should be regulated in society, similar attention should be paid to how it is used in education.”
She said: “Its use should be to enhance the learning experiences and for the well-being of students and teachers, not to their detriment.”
Other European countries have already introduced restrictions on smartphones in schools.
Italy completely banned the use of mobile phones in schools in December. Teachers were asked to collect technology from students at the beginning of the day.
Phones were banned in French schools in 2018, but in Germany, the Bavaria region recently relaxed its long-standing ban.