Premier Mark McGowan and Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced a new ‘off and away all day’ policy to ban students from using mobile phones during school hours in all public schools.
Following consultation with schools which already have successful guidelines in place, the McGowan Government is rolling out a policy for all public schools to implement a ban on the use of phones and other devices for students.
From 2020, all public schools will implement a ban on the use of mobile phones for students from the time they arrive at school until the end of the school day – including before school and at break times.
The ban restricts the use of mobile phones, smart watches, earbuds, tablets and headphones unless students are under the instruction of a staff member.
Students from kindergarten to Year 6 will not be permitted to have mobile phones in their possession during the school day.
Students from Years 7 to 12, must have their phones turned off during school hours and kept off and out of sight until the end of the school day. Additionally, under the new policy, smart watches must be set to airplane mode.
Exemptions to the policy will be made for students with special circumstances. These instances are where a student needs to monitor a health condition; when under the direct instruction of a teacher for educational purposes or with teacher permission for a specified purpose.
Parents will be contacted with information on the policy, including an instruction to contact their school’s administration, should they need to get in touch with their child during school hours.
Today’s announcement was made at Ocean Reef Senior High School which has had its own ‘off and away all day’ mobile phone and digital device policy for all students since the start of 2018.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“We want to create the best possible learning environment for WA kids, and our policy will allow students to focus on their school work, without the distraction of a mobile phone.
“The policy will improve the health and wellbeing of students, by encouraging children to connect socially in class and in the school yard. Some schools have already adopted this policy, and the results have been very positive.
“My Government is responding to concerns from parents and teachers about the pressures and demands that carrying a mobile phone brings to young people.
“Additionally, while it is recognised that cyberbullying mainly occurs outside school time, banning the use of mobile phones will reduce external issues being brought into a school via technology.”
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“I have consulted with school leaders, students and parents about this decision.
“Schools I have visited where phones are banned, have reported that a tough stance has been a game-changer for students and staff.
“Students are talking to each other face-to-face rather than texting and they’re not distracted from their work during class – overall those schools are much happier and connected places.
“I want that for all schools, which is why the new policy will roll-out across all public schools from the start of next year.
“I am absolutely supportive of using technology as a tool for learning, and this policy doesn’t limit those opportunities.”