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 – 29% say no to ban

    Our current survey has revealed that 71% of respondents so far believe that students should be banned from having mobile phones in school


    YouTube PhoneHowever, there was a significant difference between the opinions of teaching staff compared to those in the senior leadership team. Only 68% percent of teaching staff agreed that phones should be banned, but this jumped to 82% among the senior leadership team.

    One teacher who believed phones should not be banned commented “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!”, while a school leader argued that “We have found this [a complete ban] 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”.

    Where opinion wasn’t divided was between primary schools and secondary schools, with an average of 78% agreeing with a ban. One primary school who currently require phones to be handed in / locked away during school hours added that “Parents are banned from using phones inside the building as well as staff. Teachers use in a designated area". In contrast, a secondary school who do not currently ban students from having phones suggested that “Phones are used where IT rooms are scarce".

    Despite the large majority of respondents agreeing with a ban, 18% of respondents reported that their school does not currently do so, and of these schools, only 14% had plans to change the mobile phone policy.

    Our survey is still live and we would welcome your input. Click here to complete the short questionnaire

    In a recent speech to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Anne Longfield (England’s Children’s Commissioner) said that “schools should have a consistent approach to the use of mobile phones”, adding "I would like there to be a commitment that there is consistency across schools in that it isn't relying on the will of the school or the interests of the school".

    With this, and the mounting pressure on schools to ban mobile phones in order to help support a range of safeguarding issues (including bullying, mental well-being, grooming and so on), it would seem that at some point, the UK may well follow France in imposing a total ban. But will this solve the associated issues or simply create different ones?

    Take part on our mobile phone survey - all responses are anonymous. Click here to complete the short questionnaire Full results will be published later in the year.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on November 29, 2018 11:48

    Have your say: Mobile phones in schools

    To ban or not ban mobile phones in schools - the debate continues

    Mobile Phone LearningBack in June, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector, supported schools who ban mobile phones, stating that their use in the classroom was "dubious" and that technology was to blame for "low-level disruption". This appeared to be supported by an LSE study which indicated that the banning of smartphones in schools boosted results. You can read more in our previous blog.

    These comments and findings would suggest that a ban would be a positive action, although this is only seemingly supported in principle by the DfE.

    In a recent speech at the Confederation of Schools Trusts conference, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, made reference to the recent ban in France. In his speech he stated that he believes "that kids in schools should not be on their phones", adding "I strongly support schools that ban phones. But when people asked me if I was going to follow the example of France and impose a national ban – I said no".

    This leaves schools with the option to make the decision based on their own school experiences.

    As reported in the Telegraph recently, schools are taking a number of different actions, from banning phones from school premises, having children hand in phones on arrival at school, "invisibility" polices and so on, supported by acceptable usage polices from both the students and parents.

    However, taking a different approach is as school in Folkestone. Just last week, Kent Online reported that Folkestone School for Girls is not banning phones as they find them to be "valuable learning resources". The headteacher added "We do not have an endless list of dos and don'ts and trust and respect our girls to make informed and intelligent decisions about their own behaviour"


    Have your say: Should mobile phones be banned in schools?

    Do you think a ban would be beneficial in your school, or do you think that allowing children to have them in school can be useful for learning? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and experiences, or simply answer the question, should mobile phones be banned in schools.

    You can now also take part on our mobile phone survey - all responses are anonymous. Click here to complete the short questionnaire

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on November 09, 2018 09:57


    Join Safeguarding Essentials

    • Protect your pupils
    • Support your teachers
    • Deliver outstanding practice

    Recent Stories
    Story Tags
    addiction anti_bullying_alliance anti-radicalisation apps ask.fm assembly avatars awards awareness bett Breck_Foundation bug bullying BYOD calendar cber_bullying censorship ceop chatfoss checklist child child_exploitation childline childnet child_protection childwise christmas ClassDojo classroom competition cookies CPD creepshot CSE curriculum cyberbullying cyber_bullying cyber_crime cybersmile_foundation cybersurvey data_protection DCMS Demos development devices DfE digital_citizenship digital_footprint digital_forensics digital_leaders digital_literacy digital_native digital_reputation digital_wellbeing ecadets eCadets education e-learning emoticon e-safe esafety e-safety e-safety, e-safety_support #esscomp #esstips ethics events exa exploitation extreemism extremism extremism, facebook fake_news fantastict fapchat FAPZ film filtering freemium friendly_wifi gaming GDPR #GetSafeOnline glossary GoBubble gogadgetfree google governor grooming #GSODay2016 guidance hacker hacking icon information innovation inspection instagram instragram internet internet_matters internet_of_things internet_safety into_film ipad iphone ipod irights IWF KCSIE #KeepMeSafe knife_crime language leetspeak lesson like linkedin live_streaming lscb malware media mental_health mobile momo monitor monitoring naace national_safeguarding_month navigation neknominate netiquette network news NHCAW nomophobia nspcc NWG ofcom offline ofsted omegle online online_safety oracle parents phishing phone Point2Protect policy pornography power_for_good pressure PREVENT primary privacy professional_development protection PSHE #pupilvoiceweek radicalisation ratting rdi reporting research risk robots RSPH safeguarding safeguarding, safer_internet_day safety SCD2015 #SCD2016 school screen_time sdfsdf security self-harm selfie sexting sextortion ShareAware sid SID SID2016 SID2017 SID2018 SID2019 smartphone snapchat snappening social_media social_media, social_networking staff staff_training #standuptobullying statutory_guidance Stop_CSE stop_cyberbullying_day stress students survey swgfl SWGfL tablet teach teachers technology terrorism texting tootoot training TrainingSchoolz TrainingToolz trends troll trolling twitter UKCCIS uk_safer_internet_centre UK_youth unplug2015 video virus webinar website we_protect what_is_e-safety wifi wi-fi windows wizard working_together yik_yak young_people youthworks youtube YPSI yubo
    Archive