Mobile Phones

Dear Parents/Carers

MOBILE PHONES

I am writing to inform you of a policy change in relation to the use of mobile phones at Stratton Upper School. We have spent some time over the last few months discussing the impact of the use of mobile phones in school.  We have taken on board feedback received from parents and carers and looked at the latest research regarding their use in a school setting.  You may have seen in the national news that there have recently been a number of statements from high profile figures in government and at Ofsted to consider stopping the use of mobile phones in schools. In recent years, a number of schools both locally and nationally have moved to restrict or end the use of mobile phones and at Stratton, we have been discussing this for some time.

There have been a number of research studies undertaken about the use of mobile phones in schools. The Children’s Society has found that the average age for children getting a smart phone is 10 years, with 61% then setting up their first social media account before the legal age of 13. Nearly half (44%) of children and young people use social media for more than three hours a day; they are the heaviest users of social media, yet one of the most vulnerable segment of the population to anxiety and depression. In addition, the London School of Economics suggests that test scores of 16 year olds improve by 6.4% where schools stop the use of mobile phones.

From our own experience and investigations it is clear that significant numbers of students report that mobile phones are  used to be unpleasant to others and that mobile phones can have a negative impact on behaviour both inside and outside the classroom.

We have now taken the decision that mobile phones, earphones, headphones, smart watches and other similar electronic devices with internet connectivity, must not be used, seen or heard during school hours. This policy will be effective from Wednesday 4th September 2019. Please see our FAQs attached for more details. We believe that this next step in limiting the use of mobile phones will foster greater positive social interaction amongst students, in particular at break and lunchtimes. It should have a positive impact on the wellbeing of students, as well as benefiting them academically.

From feedback received from a number of parents and carers, we expect that you will support this change. We take online safety very seriously and we need the help of families in keeping our students safe online. We would encourage you to both monitor and limit your child’s ‘screen time’ out of school and to act as role models for ensuring that online activity is not harmful or threatening in any way.

 

Yours faithfully


Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher

 

No Mobile Phones to be Used, Seen or Heard - Frequently Asked Questions

What does this change in approach mean in practice?

·        From Wednesday 4th September 2019, students can bring a mobile phone into school, but must switch it off and store it in their bag (not their pocket) when entering the school site in the morning.

·        Headphones, earphones, smart watches and other similar electronic devices with internet connectivity must also be removed and stored in a school bag (not in their pocket).

·        Mobile phones and the other devices listed above must then remain switched off and out of sight at all times on the school site. This includes break and lunchtime.

 What will happen if a student’s mobile phone is used, seen or heard?

·        The device will be confiscated and kept securely.

·        Parents/Carers will be contacted if a device has been confiscated.

·        On the first confiscation, students can collect the device between 3.10pm and 4pm on the day on which it was confiscated from the school Reception.

·        For the second and subsequent confiscations, the device will be collected by a parent/carer between 3:10pm and 4pm on the next school day following the confiscation.  This will include if the device is confiscated on a Friday.

·        If there is a third confiscation, a meeting will be arranged between the Head of Year and a parent/carer to discuss expectations and further sanctions.

·        If confiscation occurs on the last day of a half term, parents may collect the device at the end of that school day.

·        Any defiance towards staff when a phone is confiscated will lead to serious consequences, for example, time in isolation or a fixed term exclusion.

 What if my child needs to contact me during the day?

·        Students should go to the relevant Head of Year office or Reception who will be able to assist them by telephoning you.

 What if I need to contact my child?

·        Please telephone Reception, 01767 220000, who will be able to pass any urgent messages on to your child.

 What about after school clubs and activities?

·        If your child attends an after school club or activity they will be allowed to use their phone after school to contact you to arrange to be picked up.

 What about trips and fixtures?

·        We recognise that being able to contact parents regarding return times is essential, and that many parents will want to retain regular contact with their child on residential visits. Students will normally be free to use their mobile phone on all trips and fixtures, any changes to this will be exceptional and at the trip leader’s discretion.

What about using mobile phones for learning in lessons?

·        We believe that mobile phones are too easily used as a distraction from learning.

·        The vast majority of activities that teachers have instructed students to use phones for can easily be achieved in other ways; therefore, phones are also not to be used, seen or heard in lessons. 

·        In the exceptional event that the use of a mobile phone is considered to be necessary to support learning in a particular lesson, staff will give students prior notice. 

 What are the rules for Sixth Formers?

·        Sixth Form students are able to use their mobile phones whilst inside the Sixth Form Centre only.

·        In the exceptional event that the use of a mobile phone is considered to be necessary to support learning in a particular lesson, staff will give students prior notice.

·        Any other instance of a Sixth Form mobile phone, or other device, being used, seen or heard will result in the device being confiscated following the above procedure.

Our aim is that all students will follow our expectations giving no cause for confiscations to occur