Belong School Devon’s new approach to mobile phones
This year, Belong School Devon has taken the decision to make the school a mobile-free zone. While few would deny that mobile devices have become a key part of modern life in the UK – with around 83% of 12-15 year olds owning a smartphone – the impact of mobile phones in schools is more open to debate. Belong School Devon’s decision to change the schools’ approach was taken in consultation with staff, students and parents and carers, who weighed up the benefits and challenges of free access to mobile phones during school time. While Belong’s usual ethos is to avoid a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, on this matter it was felt that the change would be beneficial for all; Headteacher Roz Harman is clear: “This was something our students needed us to do.”
The results have been difficult to argue with. Despite initial concerns over the difficulties of persuading students to hand in their phones at the start of the day, many students have reported that the change brings a freedom to focus and to leave behind distractions. In particular, no longer feeling compelled to ‘keep up’ with social media during the school day has been a liberating experience for a number of students. Engagement and progress data have also supported the new approach.
As with everything at Belong Schools, Roz and her team will continue to monitor and evaluate the impacts of the revised mobile phone policy, but at this point a little freedom from mobile devices gives Belong School Devon students a better opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.