Tuesday the 2nd of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Damian Hinds: Headteachers should decide whether to ban mobile phones

Head teachers should decide whether to ban mobile phones in the classroom, the Education Secretary has said.

Catholic politician Damian Hinds said that while pupils should not be using their phones in lessons, it was up to schools to decide on the rules.

It comes after Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of Ofsted, called for mobile phones to be banned in schools.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has also said he admires head teachers who do not allow their use during the school day.

During education questions in the Commons, Conservative Neil O’Brien asked Mr Hinds to consider introducing stronger guidance on mobile phones.

The Harborough MP said: “A report by academics at the London School of Economics found that schools that introduced a ban on mobile phones saw a two per cent increase in the number of pupils achieving five good GCSEs.

“The minister and I both agree with school freedom but will he consider introducing stronger guidance and more help for schools which choose to implement stronger controls on mobile phones?”

Mr Hinds, who was educated at St Ambrose R.C. College in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said he agreed that children should be “off their phones and focused on their lessons”.

He said: “We know, as he says, from research that it also improves results, but I’m also very clear that the people in charge are the schools themselves, the head teachers, and it’s for them to make the detail of their discipline rules.”

Picture: A pupil holds a mobile phone in their hand during a lesson at school. (Jens Kalaene/PA).