Crackdown on cellphones in schools can only be advice, admits Nick Gibb

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The government’s high-profile crackdown on students using cell phones can only be a change in the non-legally binding advice it gives to schools, Schools Minister Nick Gibb has admitted.

Ask by Your if ministers were prepared to legislate to ban phones in schools, Gibb said the ministry believed in an “autonomous” system where these decisions are made by the profession.

He added that a government behavior consultation – which asked schools about cell phone use – will “at the very least” result in “revisions to non-legal behavior guidelines.”


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Mr Gibb’s comments come after it was widely reported that the government was seeking to ban cell phones in schools.

Government support for cell phone bans in schools

When he launched a consultation on behavior in schools last month. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Cell phones are not only distracting, but when misused or overused they can have a detrimental effect on the mental health and well-being of a student. I want to end this, make the school day without a mobile. “

However, the consultation only indicated that the questions it posed would help inform plans to revise the non-statutory guidelines on behavior and discipline in schools and the statutory guidelines on permanent suspensions and exclusions.

This was pointed out at the time by former Education Department adviser Sam Freedman, who said in a Twitter post: “There you go. The cell phone consultation is now over and only talks about” revisions. of non-regulatory orientation. “No bans, no legislation, pure gesture politics and I would like the newspapers to stop falling into the trap.”

Your Mr. Gibb asked today, “Would the government be prepared to pass a law banning phones in schools?”

He replied: “What we said is we think cellphones are a distraction, and we try to spread best practices, but at the end of the day we believe in self-governing academies. [and] school system, where these decisions are ultimately made by the profession.

“But the evidence – that’s what we’re looking to do right now – shows that this is a very effective way to ensure kids focus on the lessons in place.

“These are the questions we are consulting on as we have launched a call for contributions to find out across the country what are the best practices in schools and then we will use that evidence to determine the next step and I think at the very least. , these will be revisions of the non-statutory conduct guidelines. ”



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