Our Mobile Phone Ban – 9 Months On…
In April last year we took the decision to ban mobile phones, mainly driven by a concern over students mental health. At the time I wrote about this on my Principal’s blog which got a reasonable amount on the attention. Nick Gibb has been in the news today stating his views about banning mobile phones in schools so I thought I would give an update on our experiences.
In short, I wish I had done this years ago.
I think the way we went about this was really important, we gathered the views of parents and 70% wanted us to ban mobiles phones in the academy. Our messaging and communication to students was clear and supportive. We didn’t focus on the fact we were “banning” mobile phones; we focused on the fact we believed that students time could be more productive and they would develop better social skills by putting down their mobile phone during the school day. In short, the transition was really smooth and we encountered very little opposition from anyone.
This dovetailed with us relaunching a new vision and strategic plan, one in which we put a much greater emphasis on developing a students’ character and personal development. As an Academy I think we didn’t run into issues as we ensured that we had more things to do at breaks and lunchtimes. There were more clubs running, as many of our facilities were open as possible. Some of these were run by our new partnership with City Year volunteers. We were fortunate enough to be able to do some building work over the summer to increase the size of our social areas to accommodate the increasing number of students within our academy.
Lunchtimes are much more purposeful and productive now, they are a little noisier too due to the larger amount of peer to peer interactions! But it so great to hear even more laughter and see even more smiles than normal.