Ofsted head backs schools that ban mobiles in the classroom

Mobile phones are now commonly used at school

The Culture Secretary has encouraged head teachers across the United Kingdom to ban mobile phones in classrooms. Quite the opposite, there is nothing kind about letting a few pupils spoil school for everyone else.

Ms Spielman is due to tell the audience at the Festival of Education at Wellington College that it was "entirely appropriate" for schools to use sanctions such as writing lines, detention or "community service" punishments such as picking up litter.

Ms Spielman will say that she wants Ofsted to respond to the importance that parents attach to behaviour by giving it a prominent place in inspection reports.

The prevalence of mobile phones in the classroom has added to low-level disruption, she will say, backing calls made by Culture Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday for phones to be banned at the school gate.

"And when I talk about behaviour, I'm not just talking about serious disruption or bullying, important as these are".

Ofsted will be cracking down on poor pupil behaviour by asking lunchtime supervisors what is really going on in schools, the chief inspector is expected to say today.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hancock questioned why young children needed phones at school in the first place, and said: "There are a number of schools across the country that simply don't allow them. "Taking a firm stance" is not necessarily the right approach in every case and school leaders need to feel confident that Ofsted will back their approach to behaviour, whatever it may be, so long as it is working".

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"I want to address, once and for all, the constant rumours we hear about badly behaved children being hidden from inspectors, perhaps on conveniently timed school trips". Ideally, such protocols should be left to the discretion of each school - there will be occasions when use of phones under strict supervision is benefical to learning. "Again, this is a matter of professional judgement on what works best in their context".

Hancock went on to quote studies that suggest the mere presence of a mobile phone is enough to lower the IQ of the holder or carrier, also pointing out the rise in bullying via social media.

"While it is up to individual schools to decide rather than government, I admire head teachers who do not allow mobiles to be used during the school day", he wrote.

A Snapchat spokesman said: "Snapchat allows you to express yourself and communicate freely with close friends and family".

He acknowledged the role of parents in teaching youngsters to use technology safely, but said schools should also play a big part.

Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer described it as "a law for the 21st century, a law for addressing the digital revolution", and said it would "protect children and teenagers".


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