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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Urges Schools to Ban Mobile Phones for ‘Safer Learning’

On Monday, the British government issued new guidelines regarding the use of mobile phones in schools. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shared a video highlighting how “distracting mobile phones are in the classroom”.

In the video, Sunak is shown trying to speak but gets interrupted by his phone ringing three times. After putting his phone away, he says, “See how frustrating that is.”

“Almost one-third of secondary school pupils said their lessons were disrupted by phones. We know they are a distraction in the classroom and cause bullying in schools. Many schools have already banned them, leading to a safer and better learning environment for their students. Now, we’re publishing new guidance so that other schools have the support they need to do the same,” said the UK PM.

“We’re making sure our children receive the education they deserve,” he added.

According to a report by PTI, the new guidelines will include various approaches such as banning phones from the school premises, requiring students to hand in their phones upon arrival at school, and keeping phones securely locked away while at school.

Data from the UK media watchdog Office of Communications (OFCOM) shows that by the age of twelve, 97% of children have a mobile phone. Using mobile phones in schools can lead to online bullying and distraction, which in turn can result in lost learning time, noted the Department for Education (DfE).

“Growing up in today’s digital world provides immense opportunities, but this should not come at the expense of our children’s wellbeing or education. That is why we have passed world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world for young people to be online,” said UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.

“Today’s announcement will further support parents and educators, helping give the next generation the best chance to realise their potential,” she added.

Sunak made the announcement on the X platform with a video message. The UK PM said, “Almost one-third of secondary school students said that their lessons were disrupted by phones.”

PM Sunak said that schools that have already banned mobile phones on their campuses have led to a ‘better learning’ environment.

Under government guidance in England, headteachers will be monitoring the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including during break times. While many schools in the UK already banned the use of mobile phones and have seen positive outcomes, the British government has announced new guidance to ensure a consistent approach across all schools. This guidance will include various options, such as prohibiting phones on school premises, requiring students to hand in their phones upon arrival, or securely storing phones at school.

According to data from the UK media watchdog, OFCOM, 97 percent of children have their own mobile phones by the age of twelve.

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