Mobile phones banned in classrooms across NSW

Tuesday, 10 October, 2023

Mobile phones banned in classrooms across NSW

A statewide ban of mobile phones in public high schools has come into effect across NSW.

The ban follows on from consultation with teachers, students and parents, and will be enforced during class, recess and at lunch. Students will still be permitted to carry a phone while travelling to and from school. A mobile phone ban had already been rolled out in NSW public primary schools.

“This ban creates a level playing field across all NSW public schools, and means students can focus on what’s most important — learning in the classroom,” said Prue Car, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning.

“It will help to provide more productive classrooms for students and teachers, reducing opportunities for distraction and cyberbullying.”

The NSW Department of Education offered schools several options for implementing the mobile phone ban, and following consultation with their local communities most have opted for zero- or low-cost solutions, such as keeping phones in lockers or off and away.

Options for schools include:

  • Off and away: Phones are ‘off and away’ in classrooms (typically kept in the student’s school bag). Phones are not used for the duration of the school day.
  • Phones in lockers: Students do not carry the phones with them; they must be kept in a locker for the whole school day.
  • Locked phone pouch: Students place their phone in a magnetically locked pouch and are unable to use their phone. Pouches are magnetically unlocked at the end of the school day.
  • Phones collected at the front office: Students deposit their phone at the school’s front office at the start of the school day and collect it at the day’s end (or when leaving the school premises).

Schools will determine how they enforce the ban and respond to any breaches.

Principals and teachers can authorise the use of mobile phones for educational purposes, or as part of a reasonable adjustment for student learning and wellbeing — such as monitoring blood sugar levels for students with diabetes.

“We spent a lot of time investigating all options and have decided to keep phones in lockers. We are sure the ban is going to have a positive outcome,” said Linda Henry, relieving principal at Ashfield Boys High.

“The lockers are a good investment and a permanent thing. Some students expressed relief that their phones are being locked away — it will be out of sight and out of mind.

“Our students recognise mobile phone use is a habit and distraction, and this will help them focus on their learning and interacting with their friends.”

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