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Should the UK follow France's lead and ban all mobile phones from all schools?

The French education minister has announced that mobile phones will be banned in schools from September. But should the UK follow suit?

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The French education minister has announced that mobile phones will be banned in schools from September. But should the UK follow suit?

A snap poll has revealed that 69 per cent* of UK teachers believe that schools to follow in France's example and ban mobile phones.

POLL: Mobile phones will be banned from schools in France from next September – should the UK follow suit?

— Tes (@tes) December 12, 2017

It was announced by the French education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, that from September 2018, mobile phones would be banned from primary, junior and middle schools in France. 

Pupils will still be allowed to bring their phones onto school premises, but will not be allowed to have access to them at any point during the school day. 

Blanque told RTL radio: “Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons…for urgent situations, but their use has to be somehow controlled.

"It’s good that children are not too often, or even at all, in front of a screen before the age of seven." 

A proportion of the UK teachers believe that while a blanket ban is not necessary, further control is needed. 

No need to ban them; they're a good teaching resource. Better control and all staff on the same page about the control measures is needed. .

— Saima C Ali (@Sy_Ali) December 12, 2017

 

Rather than ban them, teach kids how to use them properly. Teach kids to build apps. Understand the benefit of technology and the misuse of technology in the modern world e.g. how to distinguish real news from fake news, avoid click bait etc.

— Chall (@Mr_Challinor) December 12, 2017

 

Don’t need to ban them, need to have better control. They can be used as a resource in class.

— skb-Canon (@sbajwa09) December 12, 2017

 

A joint Tes, Mumsnet and First News survey in 2016 revealed that teachers were split over the issue: 50.32 per cent of respondents believed that mobile phones shouldn't be banned and 49.68 per cent believed that they should.  

Peter Twining, professor of the future of education at the Open University, told Tes at the time, that rather than banning phones, schools should include them in lessons.

“Schools can’t afford all the [technological] kit they need. It seems bonkers not to take advantage of the fact that young people have this technology in their pockets that they could use for educational purposes,” he said.

Teacher and Tes Educating... reviewer, Joe Bispham says: "I believe that protecting pupils for a few hours a day from the potential dangers is a good thing though and I would support it. However, clear guidelines about not having them out at all in school work as well as a national ban.

"Banning mobile phones in class doesn't lead to technologically illiterate pupils who are unable to function in the modern world. Phones are a distraction, they are a safeguarding issue and they are divisive status symbols that can have some pretty awful consequences."

*Percentage at time of writing.

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