'In a school context, smartphones can be extremely distracting for pupils' - Rachel Maclean's Westminster Diary - The Redditch Standard

'In a school context, smartphones can be extremely distracting for pupils' - Rachel Maclean's Westminster Diary

Redditch Editorial 24th Feb, 2024   0

THIS week, the Government has announced a crackdown on the use of mobile phones in schools across England.

This brings us into line with other countries which have already implemented a ban, such as France, Italy and Portugal.

There is a large body of research linking the amount of screen time’ time such as watching television, playing computer games, and using smartphone apps with negative outcomes for children of all ages.

In a school context, smartphones can be extremely distracting for pupils and their teachers.

Taken over an extended period – a week, a term, or an academic year – these momentary distractions can result in tens or hundreds of hours of lost learning.

And if this wasn’t reason enough, mobile phones can act as a barrier to social interaction at break or lunchtimes, leaving children feeling isolated and lonely at a time so crucial for forming friendships.

The new guidance from the Department for Education backs head teachers in banning mobile phone use throughout the school day, including at break times, to tackle disruptive behaviour and online bullying while boosting attention during lessons.

Crucially, though, schools are given the autonomy on how they want to go about doing this. Every school will know its children’s specific needs best.

This also allows for reasonable exemptions to be made, for instance in the case of a child with a medical condition.

Ensuring our children get an excellent education, regardless of their background, is a core Conservative value.

Since 2010, successive Conservative Governments have made bold reforms to our education system which has seen us rise up the PISA rankings, from 17th for maths in 2018 to 11th, and from 27th in 2009.

This is not the only area we have improved – England has ranked 13th for both reading and science, having been placed at 14th and 13th respectively in 2018 and 25th and 16th in 2009.

We are also now investing more money than ever in schools, so every child has the opportunity to receive a world class education.

But to continue delivering for the next generation, we must adapt to the new challenges teachers are facing.

This announcement builds on the critical work we have done over the last 14 years to improve our education system.

These measures will provide our hard-working teachers with further tools to improve behaviour in schools and provide a brighter future for our young people.

Rachel Maclean MP

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