Half of students breaking rules on phone use in schools

Girls are more likely to break the rules than boys, while Asian pupils are much less likely to take a phone into school

Catherine Lough

Mobile phones in schools: Half of students break the rules, DfE research shows

Half of students who take their mobile phone to school use it when they are not supposed to, a new government survey shows. 

In the Department for Education's omnibus survey of pupils, parents and carers during July and August 2019, 92 per cent of secondary school students said they took their phone to school, with 50 per cent of these reporting that they used it when they were not supposed to.


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Girls were more likely to break the rules on phone use than boys, with 53 per cent stating they used their phone when they were not meant to, compared with 45 per cent of boys.

Older students more likely to break mobile phone rules

Older students in key stage 4 and 5 were also more likely to break rules on mobile phone use in school, with 59 per cent of students in key stage 4 and 64 per cent of those in key stage 5 reporting that they did so, compared with 40 per cent of students at key stage 3.

There were differences between ethnic groups in terms of how likely students were to bring a mobile phone into school.

More than a fifth – 21 per cent – of Asian pupils did not take a phone to school, compared with 4 per cent of white pupils and 8 per cent of pupils from black Caribbean, black African and black British backgrounds.

Pupils who were eligible for free school meals were also less likely to bring a phone to school, with 11 per cent reporting they did not take in a phone, compared with 6 per cent of pupils not eligible for FSM.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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