Mobile phone ban trialled at schools

By David Kavanagh | posted on December 12, 2019

STUDENTS across the Great Southern had their first taste of a phone free education recently when trials of a state-mandated mobile ban kicked off at a number of public schools.

Albany Senior High School (ASHS) enacted a phone ban trial day on December 3, while students at Denmark Senior High School (DSHS) participated in their first “Phone Free Tuesday” this week.

The State Government announced in late October that from the start of next year, students throughout Western Australia would not be allowed to use their phones during school hours.

ASHS Principal Jenny Firth said she received “lots of positive feedback” from staff, students and parents following the trial.

“As a school we were very impressed by the responsible way the students managed themselves on the trial day,” she said.

“We are still collecting feedback about operations to ensure clarity of procedures for next year. This includes ensuring students don’t miss buses due to a need to collect a phone, as well as safe collection and storage of confiscated phones.”

Under the school’s draft policy, outlined in a letter sent to parents on November 27, ASHS students could ultimately be suspended if they repeatedly refuse to hand over their phones.

The letter encouraged students to leave their phones at home or ensure they were “turned off and away”, unless otherwise directed by teachers in class.

The policy will be finalised and endorsed by the School Board next week.

Mount Barker Community College Principal Andrew Fraser and North Albany Senior High School Principal Sharon Doohan said students were informed of what will be required of them in 2020 via assemblies, newsletters and social media.

“The mobile phone policy is completed and we will be advising our school community about the policy this week,” Ms Doohan said.

“We have been talking with our students about not being able to use phones at school unless under teacher direction and for educational purposes for a number of weeks.

“At this stage we are not planning a trial. We are confident our students understand the reasoning behind the changed rules regarding mobile phones in 2020.”