Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on reports that the Education Secretary will announce guidance requiring that pupils should not use mobile phones during the school day.
“The announcement of a ‘mobile phone ban’ is a policy which isn’t needed for something that isn’t a problem timed for the Conservative Party Conference in a desperate attempt to grab a headline.
“Most schools already prohibit the use of mobile phones during the school day or have robust rules restricting their use to specified circumstances. The problem with mobile phones – addictive use, bullying, inappropriate material – generally happen at other times when children are not in school. Schools spend a lot of time dealing with the fallout caused by mobile phone misuse and the damage it does to children. The government’s Online Safety Bill may help to some extent, but it still hasn’t passed into law despite being in development for several years.
“Meanwhile, the government is doing very little to address the real problems facing schools and colleges of teacher and support staff shortages and funding pressures which are making it increasingly difficult to maintain educational provision.”