education secretary wants to ban cell phones in English schools | Student behavior
Cell phones could be banned in schools as part of a government crackdown on lack of discipline in classrooms in England.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he wanted a ban on cellphones as he launched a consultation on student behavior and discipline in schools. He said he wanted to make the school day ‘mobile-free’ to ensure classrooms remain quiet and students can weather the impact of the pandemic.
“Cell phones are not only entertaining, but when misused or abused they can have a detrimental effect on a student’s mental health and well-being,” said the education secretary. “I want to end this, make the school day without a mobile.”
School leaders and teachers ‘unions fought back, insisting that mobile phone policies were schools’ business. They accused the Education Secretary of playing backbench MPs and using the issue as a distraction from the government’s failures in education during the pandemic.
Williamson asks teachers, parents and other school staff for their views and policies on managing good classroom behavior, before updating government guidelines on behavior, discipline, suspensions and permanent exclusions later this year.
In addition to cell phone policies, the government is considering the use of “moving rooms” in schools and so-called managed trips where a student is transferred to another school, often as a way to avoid formal expulsion.
Announcing the six-week consultation on Tuesday, Williamson said: “No parent wants to send their child to a school where bad behavior is rife. Every school should be a safe place for young people to thrive and teachers to excel.
“In order for us to help students overcome the challenges of the pandemic and improve opportunities for all young people, we need to ensure that they can benefit from quiet classrooms that help them thrive.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, accused the education secretary of being “obsessed” with cell phones in schools. “In fact, every school will already have a strong policy on the use of cell phones; it’s not some kind of digital free for all.
Frankly, school and college leaders would rather see the Education Secretary present an ambitious post-pandemic stimulus plan and explain how he intends to minimize educational disruption in the next term, rather than playing backbench on the subject of behavior. “
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Education Union, added: “Talking about cell phones is a distraction. Schools usually have very clear policies and will not see the need for another consultation.
Sarah Hannafin, Senior Policy Advisor for the Heads Union NAHT, said: “Cell phone bans work for some schools, but there isn’t one policy that will work for all schools. The outright ban on cell phones can cause more problems than it solves. “
Crackdowns on discipline and behavior in schools not only play well with Tory backbenchers, but are also preferred by conservative stalwarts at large. Williamson’s latest call for evidence comes after a £ 10million investment in ‘behavior centers’, which will see leaders of high performing multi-academy trusts working with schools where behavior and discipline are weaker.
The majority of schools already have policies in place limiting the use of phones in classrooms, and about half of secondary schools and most elementary schools also do not allow the use of phones during break time. or lunch, but the rules and sanctions are not always applied consistently.
The Education Secretary has previously said cellphones can serve as a “breeding ground” for cyberbullying, and earlier this month the Ofsted chief highlighted their use in sexual harassment and abuse of children. schoolgirls.
Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said there was a legitimate discussion to be had about the suitability of cellphones in schools. “We found that they frequently allow harassment and abuse, by sharing nudes,” she said, however acknowledging that “banning phones in schools does not stop harassment and abuse by outside of schools “.
Ofsted announced on Monday that it has updated its inspection manual to strengthen its oversight of schools’ handling of sexual harassment, abuse and violence among students, after the publication of its recent report, which has revealed that the incidents were so frequent that many students did not care. to report them.
From September, when schools do not have adequate measures to protect students, the protection will be considered ineffective and the overall score will likely be “insufficient,” Ofsted said.
School leaders are expected to assume that sexual misconduct is occurring in and around their school, even in the absence of any rapport, and to take a whole school approach. Ofsted will examine how schools deal with allegations when they occur and what preventative measures to put in place, including behavioral policies and the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) program.
Sean Harford, National Director of Education of Ofsted, said: “We expect schools and colleges to have created a culture where sexual abuse and harassment is unacceptable and never tolerated. And when students are supported to report any concerns about harmful sexual behavior and can be sure they will be taken seriously. “