On 26 June 2019, the Minister for Education, the Hon. James Merlino MP, announced a new mobile phone policy for every government school in Victoria. The new mobile phone policy comes into effect from Term 1, 2020, and requires that students who choose to bring mobiles phones to school must have them switched off and securely put away during school hours.
The Role of Technology
We live in an exciting and technology-rich world and mobile phones are an important modern day communication tool. The school acknowledges that access to a mobile phone by children is important to many of our families in providing a sense of safety for their child while travelling to and from school, and for confirming or changing after school arrangements.
Managing the Impact of Mobile Phones
Mobile phones often create disruptions and distractions in classrooms. Establishing a ‘mobile phone free zone’ helps teachers to establish and maintain a focused and productive teaching and learning environment.
Research has found that mobile phones can be disruptive in classrooms and open to misuse at school (e.g. accessing inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and unauthorised photography). Additionally, research shows that the unregulated presence of mobile phones in classrooms can undermine students’ capacity to think, learn, remember, pay attention and regulate emotion. A summary of recent, relevant research is available on the Department of Education and Training’s website.
At recess and lunchtime our school also values the opportunity for students to communicate with each other face-to-face or be involved in activities rather than being focused on a device, particularly when using the device to engage with social media.
The new policy does acknowledge that technology is increasingly impacting the way in which students learn and communicate. Therefore, when a student has been given explicit permission to access and use such devices to enhance learning by the classroom teacher, mobile phones will be permitted for that specific purpose.
For a small number of students with particular health needs, an exception to the policy may be granted. Please contact the school if you would like to discuss this.
I encourage each member of our school community to read the new policy which will soon be available on our website. This policy outlines the school’s expectations of staff, parents/carers, and students regarding the safe and appropriate use of mobile phones by students at school.
In the event of an emergency or if you need to contact your child, I ask that families contact the staff in the school office who will pass on a message as needed. The school acknowledges that this new policy may require some adjustments. As such, I ask for the support of all our families, staff and students in its implementation.
- A new mobile phone policy comes into effect from Term 1, 2020
- Students will be required to switch off and store phones securely from the first bell until the last bell each day
- Families should contact the school office should you need to pass on an urgent message to your children.