NSW students head back to class, without their phones

Mobile phones are banned for students at NSW government high schools during school hours.

Mobile phones are banned for students at NSW government high schools during school hours. Photo: Getty

Students will have less distraction when they return to class as a mobile phone ban in NSW high schools comes into effect.

The state’s public high schools will join government primary schools in enforcing a ban on mobile phones during school hours when term four begins on Monday.

Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia already have bans in place, while Queensland students will face one from next year.

The ACT is asking its residents for feedback on a possible ban.

Education Minister Prue Car said every school had been consulting with her department to determine how to enforce the ban.

“A lot of schools are doing ‘off and away’, so turned off and in the bag or in the locker, others have lockable pouches and some schools are putting them in the front office or a particular location,” she told ABC Radio on Monday.

“We’ve worked with every school across the state to make sure (the ban) fits what’s going to work for them.”

Ms Car said the state-wide ban would help lessen the burden on teachers and improve outcomes for students.

“We believe this is going to help kids concentrate so teachers can do their job in the classroom,” she said.

Premier Chris Minns stressed the importance of the ban which will apply “across the board”.

“It’s essential to ensure that young people in particular can focus on the schoolwork in front of them and teachers have an attentive class,” he said on Sunday.

An explosion in phone use in schools had coincided with declining test scores, he said.

He cited UK research that indicated schools with phone bans had better academic outcomes for 16-year-olds.

“Anyone can see that these mobile phones are designed to distract young people, with their notifications, social media, gaming technology.

“We cannot expect young people to focus on the academic work while they’ve got a phone pinging in their ear every other second.”

The policy – a Minns government election pledge – will affect 320,000 students in 400 public schools.

Each school will be able to decide how to implement the ban, with some exceptions for students who need their phone for health reasons, such as to monitor blood sugar if they have diabetes.


Topics: NSW
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