Mobile phones in schools - survey results

Headline results from our recent mobile phone survey

Mobile Phone Survey

Following one of our most discussed articles, the results of our mobile phones in schools survey have revealed that 67% of respondents believed that phones should be banned and that currently 80% of school have implemented a ban.

As identified from the early results, there was a significant difference between the opinions of SLTs and teaching staff. The final results suggest that while 78% of SLT support a ban, only 64% of teaching staff agree.

Below are the thoughts and comments from our survey respondents:

  • There is a difference between banning phones in school and banning their use at certain time, such as during lessons. It's not the existence of phones in schools that should be questioned, it more about having a robust and clear acceptable use policy - pupils breaking this policy could be sanctioned by being forbidden for bringing their phones.

  • We have recently clamped down on mobile phone usage.

  • We have found this to be very successful, we have never allowed phones in school and although we are aware some have them if we see them out they are confiscated and the students know that, so we hardly ever have to use that sanction. It also gives our students some hours within the day where they can walk away from electronic devices, they don't have to pander to the constant need to check social media and hopefully this is a little contribution to their mental health and well-being.

  • Mobile phones are a massive safeguarding issue and a massive distraction to learning. Additionally I know I have been video recorded and photographed by students without my consent which is an invasion of my privacy.

  • It is difficult as Years 10 to 13 use their phones at school to revise topics.

  • We have noticed an amazing positive difference in student - student interactions

  • It's tough at the start but gets easier with great results quickly. Parents can be the worst obstacles!

  • Parents are banned from using phones inside the building as well as staff. Teachers use in a designated area.

  • Phones and other devices will be bigger and more prevalent than we can possibly imagine in young people's adult lives, so it's vital we teach responsible use rather than hiding the sweetie jar then wondering why they get sick when they sneak into it!

  • Although there is a pressure on schools to provide suitable equipment for students to use in schools, this immediately puts pressure on students to have the latest smart phone. Is it necessary for these children to have phones at all?

  • Causes bullying, students end up obsessing over social media.

  • The advent of Chromebooks and other multi use devices really means that talking about mobile phones is also becoming somewhat obsolete. We have managed phones well and tried various systems and ended up with year 10 and above keeping theirs but sanctions for misuse.

  • Phones are used where IT rooms are scarce.

  • I don’t think a full ban is appropriate in terms of having them in site, but during school hours I think phones should be banned from use.

  • Responsible use of the phone is the best way forward.

  • Technology is the future. The new GCSE specifications are already going backwards. Let's utilise phones as they are not going to go away.

  • Unfortunately they are the way of society now and as such we need to move with the times and technology

  • I think one of the biggest problems with an outright ban is that, overwhelmingly, parents want their children to have phones with them. I sometimes read comments saying 'why can't schools collect phones in' - that might work in a very small school but it would be impossible in most secondary schools and would cause a lot more problems than it could ever hope to try and solve. I think a consistently applied policy of no phones out anywhere around school (save perhaps allowing teachers to invite students to take a photo of the board showing their homework tasks) is a good compromise that works well - but like all of these things it needs to be consistently applied.

  • If our aim is to teach young people to self regulate then our approach needs to be tiered. In my school we ban them from the young pupils and slowly deregulate as we move to Sixth Form.

  • Yr 8, 9, 10 students are tending not to surrender their phones, and 3/4G capacity means a trip to the toilet is an opportunity to go online with no possible supervision. We are contemplating a register of devices with a call home if we don't have that student's device in the lockbox by end of registration.

  • There is constant debate around this issue among teachers. Some teachers rely on student's phones to integrate IT into lessons due to lack of pc room availability. Students are supposed to have phones off in class unless the teacher allows. Most students have phones on though and can be distracted by notifications etc. Recently teachers have been photographed in class and they were posted on social media. It is very hard to get the balance right.

  • We only expect pupils to hand them in up until then end of year 10. Year 11 and Sixth Form are encouraged to use them responsibly and only in designated areas. Our reasoning is to give pupils screen free time during the day and allow them to spend more time in real time and space communication with each other.

  • Being a K-12 school, older students in Grades 11 & 12 could be allowed phones as an additional privilege provided they don't use them in lectures. As they are being prepared for life in universities where there is no such regulation, developing some self-regulation may be beneficial to them.

  • Banning phones in school is so important. It is the one point of the day where children are not tied to social media feeds, which all current research suggests is damaging to young people's mental health. Our 6th Form are allowed their phones in school, but only in designated areas and are not allowed them on/in use during lesson time without the express permission of their teacher. This also teaches students when it is appropriate to check phones (not during a meeting or presentation for example). I take a lot of trips to other schools and I notice the difference in lunch and breaktimes particularly: our students are less inclined to reach for their phones immediately and will sit and chat with each other while others will be disengaged from conversation and plug straight in.

  • Although reading the comment made in the article highlights a compelling argument that fact still remains that mobile phones distract learning. All learners should be educated, regardless, and encouraged to use all electronic devices with clear information on how it impacts on their life both socially and educationally. Yes the next generation will have far more access to computers etc but that shouldn't mean it takes over. Discipline in schools, college and home is essential and without it all rules, policies, laws and procedures won't be worth the paper they are written on and our 'next generation' will become feral.

  • There's no real need for students to have access to phones during school hours - they absolutely need them when travelling to and from school and so I believe in simply having them checked-in and locked away from AM registration till the end of the day. This doesn't preclude phones being used in lessons if required though - they're useful devices!

  • I've worked in school that did allow phones and it was forever a monitoring exercise to stop students checking their messages and chatting with each other (or cheating by looking up answers or using the calculator app in a mental maths session). Once I was even sneakily snapchatted by a student to all his friends without permission - pretty unacceptable. Only found out when I started at a different school nearby the next year and some of the students there recognised me.

  • I teach Computing/Computer Science and see the value of technology in the classroom, but I also know the temptation - even for adults - to constantly want to check their phones for whatever updates they might have. For teenagers especially it's a huge temptation and distraction in lessons that could have far-reaching impacts on their education.

  • We have added that except in certain subjects, use of headphones for study in lessons is not permitted.

  • It is important that we have places where students can learn to communicate with out mobile phones.
  • If you would like to add your thoughts or experiences, please use the comments section below

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on December 20, 2018 13:57

    Mobile Phones in the Classroom

    Are mobile devices a positive or negative influence in schools?

    Mobile PhoneThere has been much in the news recently about children having phones in schools.

    Today, the chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman supported schools who ban mobile phones.

    As reported by the BBC, she is expected to say that the use of phones in the classroom in “dubious at best”. She claims that technology is to blame for “low-level disruption” and that taking a tough stance will endorse a tough behaviour policy in school.

    This announcement follows news last week from the headmaster of Eton who endorsed the confiscation of mobile phones from pupils, having younger pupils hand their phones and mobile devices in at night-time.

    A recent LSE study discussed in the Guardian found that “banning smartphone use in schools boosted results”.

    The benefits of time away from digital devised are widely reported – indeed, this week it has also been reported that gaming addition has now been declared a media disorder and can be treated on the NHS. This reiterates the damage that persistent use of technology could cause.

    However, is banning mobile phones in schools a step in the right direction.? Should schools instead be using the technology to encourage and educate about the many elements of our now connected lives?

    It’s fair to say that opinion on this is divided. In reality, the capability mobile devices provide for computing, education, communication and organisation are extremely positive. However, finding the right time and place for both use and education is a situation yet to be resolved.

    Have your say
    How do you feel about mobile phones in school? Do you allow them in the classroom? Have you had good or bad experiences when it comes to mobile devices in school? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and experiences.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on June 21, 2018 10:59

    10 – The official age children should own a smartphone

    New survey by Internet Matters reveals how parents of 8-11 year olds want minimum age enforced for smartphone ownership

    Internet Matters InfographicInternet Matters this week launched its ‘Back to School’ survey which reveals the majority of parents (84.6%) would like a minimum age for smartphone ownership in the UK - with age 10 being the most popular minimum age. With millions of children back to school this week, the new research shows that over half (65%) of 8-11 year olds own a smartphone and nearly a quarter (23%) of parents let their children take their phone to school. The survey is complimented by a Back to School e-safety advertising campaign and a new online safety guide by Internet Matters which helps parents keep their children safe online.

    Carolyn Bunting, General Manager at Internet Matters, commented: ‘With such a huge amount of young people owning smartphones and the acceptable age of doing so being 10, parents need to be more aware than ever of what their children are doing online. That’s why we have launched our brand new online safety guide, so that parents remember these safety precautions in their back to school shopping list for their children.”

    On the anniversary of changes to the National Curriculum in England, which made e-safety a compulsory topic for primary schools, the ‘Back to School’ survey shows parents believe the responsibility lies with them and schools to ensure their kids are safe online. Whilst nearly three quarters of parents (72%) said their primary school teaches their children e-safety, 67% of parents think it’s up to them to keep their kid’s safe online but 90% think schools could do more. Whilst mobile technology brings enormous benefits to young people, the majority of parents (82%) would prefer that mobile phones were not allowed in primary school.

    The research highlighted huge regional variations of smartphone usage among children with Newcastle revealed to be the kids “smartphone capital of Britain” - with 90.5% of primary school children aged 8-11 owning one, compared to Manchester (65%), Birmingham (61%) and London (55%). Brighton and Hove came bottom of the table with 40%.

    Child psychotherapist Catherine Knibbs commented: “It is no surprise that 10 appears to be the most popular age parents feel comfortable letting their children own a smartphone as this is the age that children move from a more simplistic view of the world to being more independent, think in a more complex way, and show the ability to understand the consequences of their actions. This adult-like behaviour in children makes parents feel more comfortable that their children are grown up enough to own a smartphone, but it’s a tough decision as parents need to balance this new found freedom with a level of supervision and boundary setting to ensure safe internet usage.”

    Bunting, further commented: “Every parent agonises over that all-important decision of when to give their children a mobile phone. Whether it’s peer pressure, a sign of maturity, or out of peace of mind, every child is different and parents know intuitively what the right age is for their child. Giving children this great tool comes with responsibilities both for parents and children. We would urge parents to ensure they have the conversation with their children about how to be responsible on their phones and ensure that the safety settings are in place across all their devices and search engines.”

    For more information on Internet Matters Back to School campaign please visit

    Written by Internet Matters on September 03, 2015 12:33

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