Mobile phones and iPads could be banned from classrooms

zaterdag, 19 september 2015 - Categorie: Artikelen

13 sept. 2015

Tom Bennett, the Department for Education discipline tsar, will begin a wide-ranging inquiry into how schools can improve bad behaviour among children, including the use of smartphones and tablets.

Pupils could be banned from taking mobile phones and iPads into class under a major government crackdown on disruptive behaviour at school.

Tom Bennett, the Department for Education discipline tsar, will begin a wide-ranging inquiry into how schools deal with unruly children.

While smartphones and tablet computers can be useful in some lessons, Mr Bennett will investigate teachers’ concerns that growing numbers of pupils are distracted by their mobile devices when they should be concentrating on their work.

His review will also examine whether the attitude of parents towards their own children’s behaviour contributes to disruption in class.

More than 90 per cent of teenagers have mobile phones, but a recent study by the London School of Economics claimed schools where they were banned saw test scores rise by an average of 6 per cent. There is currently no government policy about mobile phone use in England, as schools have to set restrictions themselves.

Last month, however, the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, called for headteachers to ban mobile phones from secondary schools. Officials said Mr Bennett’s review would consider whether the government should back such a ban.

Mr Bennett has already begun working on reforms to teacher training courses so that new school staff are better able to enforce discipline in the classroom. His remit will now be expanded to examine all causes of bad behaviour.

Mr Bennett said: “Technology is transforming society and even classrooms – but all too often we hear of lessons being disrupted by the temptation of the smartphone. Learning is hard-work and children are all too aware of this. So when they have a smartphone in their pocket that offers instant entertainment and reward, they can be easily distracted from their work.

“This is a 21st century problem and the majority of schools are dealing with it effectively. But I will now probe deeper into this issue, and behaviour challenges more broadly, to uncover the real extent of the problem and see what we can do to ensure all children focus on their learning.”

In May, research by the London School of Economics found that banning mobile phones from classrooms could benefit students’ learning by as much as an additional week’s worth of schooling over an academic year. The report suggested that banning phones would most help low-achieving children and those from the poorest backgrounds the most.

Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, suggested the government could update its advice to schools to help teachers cope with “21st century” challenges to discipline, “when even primary school pupils may be bringing in phones or tablets”.

“That is why we have taken the decision to expand Tom Bennett’s review to look at how teachers can tackle bad behaviour,” he said.

“Whether it is the use of mobile phones in schools or the attitudes of parents to their child’s behaviour in class, we will now probe deeper into behaviour more generally to ensure that no child has to put up with having their education disrupted by misbehaviour.”

Most schools have some form of mobile phone policy in place. One third of schools ban mobile phones outright, with a further fifth limiting their use in lessons, the Department for Education said.

GCSE results at the Ebbsfleet Academy in Kent have almost doubled since the school banned smartphones in 2013.

The White Horse Federation of seven primary schools in Swindon also bans mobile phones during the school day in order to improve pupil behaviour.

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