Matt Hancock calls on schools to ban mobile phones in classrooms
Matt Hancock has said more schools should consider banning students from using mobile phones during the day.
The Culture Secretary said halting their use, and even confiscating the devices at the start of the day, could boost students’ grades while helping to clampdown on bullying.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph he insisted it was not a matter for the Government to enforce in law, but that he “admired” head teachers that took a stand, saying such a move would have a “real impact” on the lives of young people.
Mr Hancock said he did not see why students’ needed to access their phones during the school day and that emphasis should be on building skills “in the real world” first.
“Why do young children need phones in schools? There are a number of schools across the country that simply don’t allow them,” he wrote.
“I believe that very young children don’t need to have access to social media. They are children after all. They need to be able to develop their social skills in the real world first.”
“If a child is being bullied during the day and they have access to social media, the bullying doesn’t necessarily stop when they walk out of the school gate.
“I want bullying to be as unacceptable on online platforms as it is in the playground."
His column was backed by a letter from seven Tory MPs – all from the 2017 general election intake –who said phones can be a "disaster" in the classroom.
In it, they said “a pupils' chance of getting five good GCSEs increased by an average of 2 per cent” in schools were devices were banned.
They added: "The improvement was even more marked for lower achieving pupils. Results among pupils in the bottom quarter of achievement improved twice as much as the average.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Head teachers already, of course, have the power to ban mobile phones in schools and we support their right to do so.
“We know that 95% of schools already impose some kind of restriction on mobile phones use during the school day, with a substantial number banning them from the school premises altogether."