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Pupils rule OK in mobile-free classroom

HEY, teachers! Leave that phone alone! Pupils at a Bournemouth primary have banned their elders and betters from switching on their mobile phones in lessons.

In an... erm... ringing endorsement of pupil power, pupils at Stourfield juniors were given the chance to write the school's mobile phone policy.

Their teachers have "gt the msg", and the move has been such a success that Stourfield says it has set the tone for giving pupils influence over other aspects of school life.

The policy was introduced because teachers were looking for a challenge in English for the school's gifted and talented Year 6 pupils.

Around 25 pupils in Stourfield's literacy extension class spent three weeks discussing the pros and cons of having a mobile, before writing a draft policy.

Then four of the youngsters had to defend the new rules to Stourfield's governing body. After being passed to the school council, which represents all pupils, the policy was accepted with only a few tweaks, said headteacher David Nayler.

To be fair to the staff, the policy also means a ban on pupils' mobiles.

Any child wanting to bring in a telephone has to get signed permission from their parents and the school, on the grounds that they need the mobile for safety. Pupils' mobiles are locked up at school.

Mr Nayler said: "Having set rules for themselves, the pupils would feel aggrieved if a teacher took a personal call in a lesson.

"So teachers have been happy to keep to this policy, and it has gone down well with parents."

Schools across the country have been grappling with the issue of mobile phone use in recent years, devising policies and either banning them or insisting they are switched off in lessons.

The Stourfield pupils are now helping design new playground equipment and a format for the grace which is said at lunchtimes. Watch this space.

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