Are Phones in Schools Needed? Changes in Legislation Require New Solutions

The great phone debate has been going on for years – should kids be allowed to have their phones in school? New government legislation suggests that mobile phones may be on the way out, but some suggest that is not the best solution.

What is the New Legislation?

Recently, the Department of Education announced that schools should be prohibiting phone use during the school day. This comes after research suggests that when a school is phone-free, students achieve better exam results and performance improves.

The guidance that has been given to schools suggests that students should be encouraged not to carry mobile phones, to secure them in a locker, or to hand them in at the start of the day. It is hoped that this crackdown could also decrease instances of cyberbullying, whilst also supporting teachers to remove distractions from their classrooms.

Hand holding a smartphone, iphone
Empty desks in a classroom

Potential Benefits

There are already several recognised benefits for students leaving their phones out of reach:

  • Reduced Distractions – In storing their phones away from the classroom, studies have found that students are likely to pay more attention to their lessons and thus achieve higher results.
  • Decrease in Cyberbullying – Without access to mobile phones, the risk of online bullying and harassment is removed from the school environment, fostering a more positive atmosphere.
  • Increased Social Interaction – When students are disconnected from the digital world, they are more likely to interact in the physical one. This encourages face-to-face social interaction and helps to develop improved communication skills.

Potential Challenges

Although there are benefits to removing technology in education, that’s not to say that children having access to a phone is always a bad thing. Some people have raised several key issues with this new legislation:

  • Safety Concerns – Some parents have raised issues with being unable to contact their children throughout the day. Access to a mobile phone is considered important when travelling to and from schools, enabling students to contact a parent should they miss a bus or if they have an accident.
  • Resource Access – In today’s world, there are fantastic educational resources available online, and though not necessary all the time, access to digital resources can be a benefit to students. In removing mobile phones, students may also be limited in the resources available to them.
  • Digital Literacy – Like it or not, today’s students are growing up in a digital world. Students of today will not know a world where they can’t just ‘Google it’. A mobile phone is a tool that they will use outside of the school walls and educating students on digital literacy and safety is important.

Are Schools Becoming Tech-Free?

Many schools will be implementing the mobile phone ban and following the government’s guidance. However, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic many teachers are now integrating technology into how they teach.

Studies have shown that the gamification of lessons has a positive impact on the learning of students, as they often find it more engaging than traditional pen-and-paper teaching. It has also been shown that using technology can make learning more accessible to students with additional needs.

However, following the government’s advice, schools are encouraged to ensure that the technology used is not the personal mobile phone of a student. This ensures that education remains at the forefront of technology use and that distractions remain at a minimum.

Is the Answer in Mobile Phone Lockers?

It’s clear that there are strong arguments both for and against the ban on phones in schools. In a digital world, it would be almost impossible to completely ban mobile usage, so perhaps putting controls that limit phone usage is the solution.

Contrary to popular belief, lockers are not just found in American high schools. Storage lockers and laptop and phone lockers are now widely used across the UK. Not only do school lockers prevent theft, but they provide students with a secure place to store their own belongings during classes that are still accessible during break times.

Secure storage solutions are now being considered as a solution for both schools that support the government’s ban on phones, and schools that are embracing technology.

Image of phone charging lockers in a school

Metal school lockers

These days, school lockers come in various sizes and with various purposes. Perhaps the most widely recognised form of locker is the traditional single-door metal locker that comes with simple cam locks to keep items secure. Though the compartment size can vary, these lockers provide students with a suitable space to store their items during lessons, such as their mobile phones, so that they are enabled to easily follow the government’s guidelines.

Phone charging lockers

Phone lockers are not just your regular school locker, they have charging ports to allow students to charge their device using a USB cable during the school day. This encourages them to leave their device in a secure location to avoid distractions in the classroom, but also mitigates the safety concerns of parents by ensuring that children will not be without a way to contact them should something go wrong.

Using mobile phone lockers also provides students with an incentive to leave their devices behind, knowing that their phones will be charged when they finish their classes.

Laptop and tablet charging lockers

As there are some schools embracing the change towards a technological world and utilising tools such as laptops and tablets, there are locker solutions available for them to ensure some control over technology usage.

For example, laptop charging lockers allow students to securely store their personal belongings in powered compartments and charge their laptops so that they are prepared for when they need access to technology. This also allows schools a way to ensure there are opportunities for students to disconnect and have time away from technology and participate in communication-building activities.

Hands typing on a laptop

What’s Next?

There’s no telling if students will take the government’s advice to put away their devices in lessons. However, statistics show that results are higher when the advice is followed. It might be that finding ways to support and encourage children to put their phones elsewhere during class might just be the key to the problem.

Maybe it is as simple as finding the right lockers.

Simply Lockers are one of the UK’s leading suppliers have a comprehensive range of lockers available. We have multiple door colours, sizes and compartment types available – let us supply you with the means to get your students ready to learn.