Updated February 20th, 2024 at 15:50 IST

UK govt imposes nationwide ban on mobile phones in schools, strict guidelines issued

UK bans mobile phones in schools : The UK government has introduced comprehensive guidelines prohibiting the use of mobile phones in schools across England.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
UK bans mobile phones in schools | Image:Unsplash
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In a decisive move to minimize disruptions and enhance classroom behavior, the UK government has introduced comprehensive guidelines prohibiting the use of mobile phones in schools across England. The new mobile phone guidance, issued on February 19, 2024, supports headteachers in imposing a ban on mobile phone use throughout the school day, including break times. The government aims to establish a consistent approach across all schools to address concerns related to online bullying, distraction, and classroom disruption associated with mobile phone use.

Click here to read the guidelines issued by UK govt.

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The guidance responds to growing concerns from parents, with the latest data from ParentKind's National Parent Survey revealing that 44% of parents are worried about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices. The move is part of the government's broader strategy to drive high expectations of behavior, supported by a £10 million investment in behavior hubs to assist up to 700 schools over three years.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan in a press release issued by Department of Education, UK said the need for schools to be places for learning, stating that mobile phones are, at a minimum, unwanted distractions in the classroom. The government's focus on delivering a world-class education is reflected in the guidance, building on previous efforts that resulted in 89% of schools being rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

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The initiative aims to create safe and nurturing school environments, with Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan highlighting the importance of balancing opportunities in the digital world with the wellbeing and education of children. The government's legislation also aims to make the UK the safest place in the world for young people to be online.

Lead behavior advisor to the department, Tom Bennett, acknowledged the damaging effects of mobile phones on a child's social and educational development, particularly for the least advantaged. The guidance provides clear direction for schools, including advice on creating phone-free environments.

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Parentkind CEO Jason Elsom expressed support for the government's decisive action, citing research indicating that a significant percentage of parents are concerned about their children's electronic device usage. He emphasized the need to address the addiction to harmful 'electronic drugs,' even within the relatively safe grounds of schools.

The government's data reveals instances of mobile phones being used inappropriately in lessons, prompting schools to implement successful strategies such as introducing lockers with charging points. The move aligns England with other countries, including France, Italy, and Portugal, which have taken steps to restrict mobile phone use in schools.

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The government's behavior hubs and a behavioral taskforce led by DfE's behavior tsar Tom Bennett further demonstrate the commitment to improving behavior cultures in schools and spreading good practices nationwide.

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 15:50 IST