Mobile phones are a cause of constant distraction in Victorian classrooms – but not for much longer.
The devices will be banned for all students at government primary and secondary schools across the state from the beginning of the 2020 school year.
It’s hoped the move will reduce distraction, tackle cyber bullying and improve student learning outcomes.
The statewide policy will force students to switch off their phones and store them securely in lockers from the start of the school day until the final bell.
The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.
And when emergencies occur, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school – not their mobile.
Teachers and parents have frequently raised concerns about the use of mobile phones during school hours.
“This (ban) will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment,” Education Minister James Merlino said.
“Half of all young people have experienced cyber bullying. By banning mobiles we can stop it at the school gate.”
Around 53 per cent of young Australians have experienced cyber bullying, according to the latest research from Headspace.
The Department of Education and Training will work with principals to develop detailed advice and resources ahead of the mobile phone classroom ban.A review of the ban will be conducted at the end of 2020.
PHONES ALREADY BANNED AT MCKINNON SECONDARY COLLEGE
McKinnon Secondary College implemented a classroom phone ban this year and is already seeing benefits.There have been improvements on school learning and social behaviour, with teachers reporting that students are more focused during class and communicating more in the school yard.
“Our students are more focussed learners in the classroom without this distraction and we have observed improved social connections, relationships and interactions in the school during lunchtime,” Principal Pitsa Binnion said.