The Andrews Labor Government is investing $12.4 million to deliver the resources schools need to securely store student mobile phones, ahead of the state-wide school ban starting next year.
Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the funding at Auburn High School with Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy.
The funding will ensure schools have the support they need as they implement the policy, which will require all Victorian state primary and secondary school students to switch off and securely store phones during school hours.
Each school has different needs and facilities. Schools will be able to apply for funding for secure storage resources that work best for their school.
In secondary schools, mobile phones are most likely to be kept in secure lockers, or a secure box in the home room. Schools will be able to apply for funding to purchase or upgrade lockers or buy new padlocks for existing lockers.
For schools that don’t have lockers or sufficient space, the Department of Education and Training is exploring other suitable options, including lockable pouches. Similar technology is already used interstate or overseas to store phones securely.
Fewer children bring mobile phones to primary school, so schools can apply to purchase secure storage cupboards.
The Labor Government announced in June this year that from Term 1, 2020 all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools will be required to turn off their mobile phones and store during the school day. This will help reduce distraction and bullying, while improving social interactions and learning outcomes for students.
The only exceptions to the policy will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a specific classroom activity. When emergencies occur, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school.
In addition to the $12.4 million funding, from the start of Term 4 school communities will also have access to detailed advice and resources as they prepare to introduce the mobile phone policy next year.
As stated by Minister for Education James Merlino
“We are making sure each school has the secure storage facilities that suit their needs ahead of the mobile phone ban starting in Term 1 next year.”
“Banning mobile phones during school hours will not only mean students focus more on learning, it will also help kids interact more in the school yard and reduce cyber bullying.”
As noted by Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy
“This is about getting all Victorian state schools ready to put away their phones and put their education first.”