Synchronicity - Mobile Phone Ban
I was struggling yesterday with some wording in the draft of the latest Newsletter around our ‘policy’ on smartphones at school.
Why the struggle?
- Because Governors have not been asked to write an agreed formal Policy.
- Because I do not want to ban them outright from the premises.
- Because I want to avoid conflict with pupils or parents.
- Because, most importantly, the problem at our school does not exist.
- Because I do not want the wording to suggest a change in policy.
This morning the news broadcasts, news websites and some newspaper front pages have a story featuring statements from the school standards minister, Nick Gibbs, saying that, in his opinion, schools should ban children taking smartphones to either school or classroom.
Our practical, and we think proportionate, sensible, approach is to allow them to be brought and not allow them to be used on site at all. So they are handed in first thing in the morning and given back at the end of the day. This avoids any misuse, deliberate or accidental, and any claims of misuse. It avoids damage or loss. It avoids something of value being taken without permission.
What we get is total compliance – we simply do not have incidents of children abusing this trust and application of a rule.
Schools have the power to ban smartphones.
Headteachers have the authority to decide if it appropriate to implement a ban.
Smartphone misuse can be a (very limited occurrence) problem.
Children are given increasing independence by the parents over the years of Key Stage 2.
The technology already exists and cannot be un-invented.
Active travel is seriously promoted, and that means getting children to walk, ride or scoot to and from school.
Parents want assurance that their child is on the way home of has a means to contact them.
Children have phones – households have more than one phone per family member.
We don’t need deceitful, underhand, underground, furtive, or complicit undermining of a rule that we cannot easily enforce by having parents and children sneaking a phone into school.
I’m not having every child turn out their pockets or bags so we could enforce a total ban – life’s too short and a ‘problem’ (if there even is one) is too small to need this action.
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