Published: 10:57, 12 September 2018
| Updated: 20:41, 12 September 2018
A school has caused division among parents after it banned pupils from using mobile phones on site.
Sandwich Technology School head teacher Tracey Savage enforced the new rule at the start of the term in a bid to reduce cyber bullying and boost children's mental health.
The rule states phones must be kept switched off and in the bottom of bags throughout the day on the school premises.
Those who breach it, will have their device confiscated for 24 hours with parents then invited to collect it.
Parents were informed of the new rule via letter in July and a reminder went out on the school's Facebook page last week. It prompted more than 250 comments both for and against on the social media site.
Tracy Laurence said: "I totally disagree with this policy.
"If you really want to enforce it why don't you have a secure area where all phones can be put in each lesson so they cannot be used during lessons. In lunch and break, that is free time and they should have access."
Martin Mickey Pearce said: "Whilst I agree in principle, reading your code of conduct are you not failing in your duty of care to students by removing their mobile device and safety net and then letting them get on a bus journey or walk home?
"It’s not always possible for a parent to immediately collect. This causes me concern."
Megan Kate felt differently. She said: "Maybe if children are taught to follow the rules set out there will be no problem with being able to ring if the bus breaks down because they won’t have their phone confiscated."
Rhyanna Blair added: "People should realise that the school is doing a favour for these kids.
"Kids are so addicted to their phones these days constantly staring at a screen so instead of being on them at break and lunch they can talk with their friends and meet new people."
Head teacher Tracey Savage said: “Numerous schools up and down the country have successfully introduced this policy and have found that the positive effects have been very clear to see for the whole school community.
"We have taken the time to learn from other schools to introduce a policy that will work and the school has worked hard to ensure that everyone understood in advance what the new policy would be and the reasons behind it.
"Of course some students are not happy, but it has been pleasing to see how many students both understand and appreciate the reasons behind the policy and have been happy to embrace it.
"As a school we have had numerous messages of support from parents who believe this is the right thing to do.
“Concerns about the effect mobile phones have on young people’s mental health and ability to concentrate for sustained periods of time are becoming more wide spread and urgent."
Ms Savage reported at the end of the first day back few problems were reported.
She added: "It was lovely to see that the students were talking to each other around the school, rather than staring at a screen or listening through their earphones.
"Teachers told me that they found that they got through more in their lessons as no time was wasted asking students to put phones away and the students were not distracted.
"I am confident that we will find, as numerous schools have already found, that this policy will have a really positive impact on both the health and the learning of our students.”
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