A secondary school in Rayleigh has banned the use of mobile phones by pupils, with leaders saying this is done to ensure maximum focus on learning.
In a letter to parents, John Edwards, vice-principal at Sweyne Park School, said if a child has a phone at school it should be turned off and placed in their school bag or locker at all times , otherwise it will be considered a violation of this new policy for mobile devices.
The letter states: “We have previously informed you that we will be actively reviewing the appropriate level of mobile device access for our students in grades 7-11 during the school day.
As a result of our review, we have decided that in order to promote healthy use of mobile devices and ensure maximum focus on learning, from October 31, the use of mobile devices, such as a telephone, will be prohibited.
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“The rationale for banning the use of such devices arose from our own experiences, research and advice on the impact on young people and their learning. Some of the main reasons include, but are not limited to, the following promote and model safe and responsible phone use, implement a measure to help students focus on their learning, avoid unnecessary distractions during the school day, and improve well-being.
“Students are very aware of the potential distractions to learning and the negative impact on face-to-face relationships that mobile devices can have for young people. As a school, we have always embraced technology to support our ambitious program for the future.
“This change will not impact our approach, rather it will ensure balance is right for our students and ensure they can participate fully in the school day without being unnecessarily distracted by a device.
“It will also bring the school in line with the majority of local high schools who already have the same expectation.
“As with any significant change, it is important that there is a transition period to allow students to adapt. From the week of October 31, students will be notified of this policy change.
“As a first step, in order to avoid unnecessary conflict and to give them this time to adjust, in the event of a breach of policy, students will be politely reminded to turn off their phones and put them away.
“If they refuse to do so, they will be subject to punishment in accordance with our behavior policy. We hope this can be avoided by maintaining respectful relations.”