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Waveney schools move to ban mobile phones following MP’s appeal

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 July 2018

Schools have differing policies on mobile phones. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Schools have differing policies on mobile phones. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

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A private school in Waveney is to prohibit the use of mobile phones during the school day following an MP’s call for a blanket ban.

Saint Felix, in Reydon near Southwold, announced it is to ban the devices for students in Year 7 to Year 11 to ensure what a spokesman described as “an environment that facilitates learning”.

Sixth Form students will still be able to use their phones.

The move follows the then culture secretary Matt Hancock’s call for a blanket ban on mobile phones in schools.

The spokesman for the school said: “[The ban] allows children the necessary focus and attention by removing unwanted distraction.

“Part of the school’s appeal to parents is that they place greater emphasis on good manners, and with smaller ratios of teacher-child they can more strictly enforce higher standards of behaviour, and prioritise real interaction.”

She added: “The school also sees it as their responsibility to act in a preventative way by removing the tools by which cyber bullying most often takes place, at least during school hours, than wait to have to deal with it after the fact.”

Mobile phone policy differs across Waveney, with students at Benjamin Britten School in Lowestoft required to hand their phones in at the start of the day, getting a ticket in return, before collecting it at the end of the day.

Pakefield High School’s assistant headteacher Elliott Gibbons said the school would be moving to a similar model, with phones expected to handed in to the office in the morning and confiscated if seen.

He said: “‘As a school we are tightening our approach to ensure that mobile phones aren’t a distraction for young people.

“Our approach has expected students to keep them ‘off and away’ but to ensure we have consistency we will, from September, be expecting any student with a mobile phone to hand them into the key stage office promptly on arrival.”

Other schools are taking a different approach. Bungay High School’s assistant headteacher, Mark Considine, said: “We understand why they might have them, for example if their bus breaks down their safety is very important.

“If the phone goes off we don’t take it off them, we just ask them to turn it off. If you are a repeat offender there may be further sanctions.”

At Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft, mobile phones must be switched off and out of sight during lessons, but can be used outside of lesson time.

At Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, younger students are banned from having the devices, with a scaled allowance as pupils get older.

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