How do you deal with?...Fellowship of the ring

28th September 2001 at 01:00
Janet Lewis, Sandringham School, Hertfordshire

"When they first arrived we were not enthusiastic but it soon became obvious that both students and parents wanted us to allow them in school.

"Having discussed it with the school council we decided to work with the technology rather than against it. Phones can be brought into school but must be switched off in lessons. If they ring or are used for text-messaging they are confiscated and a letter goes home. Students then collect them at an agreed time from reception.

In general the policy works well but our biggest problem is students losing them and theft - often for the SIM card. I explained to parents that we could not take responsibility for loss so this should be reported to the police."

John Williams, Pen-y-dre high school, Merthyr Tydfil

"A couple of Christmases ago all the pupils seemed to get presents of mobiles and we did try to discourage them, explaining that they weren't insured. Now we allow them in school but they must be switched off during lessons. Happily, we've had virtually no problems with theft.'' Elizabeth Fletcher, Patcham school, Brighton "Most of our children own mobiles. We allow them into school as they can be very useful to youngsters out of school and they are part of their world now.

"We don't confiscate them but insist they are turned off during lessons. We advise students to register their phones with us and give us details of the make, model, IMEI and SIM card numbers. In the event of theft or loss we can then help to investigate. We are trying this policy out as a preventative measure."

Martin Buck, Lister school, Newham, east London

"We decided that it's too complicated to allow them. In Newham last year there was a 40 per cent rise in thefts of mobiles.

"We used to allow them but found that even when advised to keep them hidden they wanted to show them around. Text-messaging in the back of lessons was also a problem. So although we prefer to negotiate with young people, in the interests of safety and sanity for the past 12 months we've imposed a ban.

"Some parents wanted their children to have them, particularly the girls, for the journey home but we believed that they were actually in more danger because of the risk of theft. Most parents are supportive and I think some of the younger pupils are quite relieved."

Kathleen Gibbons, St Kentigerns Academy, West Lothian

"We don't allow mobiles at all. The policy is part of our code of conduct which the pupils helped to produce.

"Pupils know they can always come to the office to use a phone if necessary. Most travel home on school buses so they don't need them for the journey home. We've had no adverse reactions from the parents. It's not a big issue here."

Kate Myers

Is there an issue that you think you deal with successfully? Or want to consult other school managers about? Share your ideas with TES readers by writingemailing us. "How do you deal with...?", The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX fax 0207 782 3205 or email: letters@tes.co.uk

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