13 Sep, 2015

Mobile phones’ impact on lessons coming under scrutiny

The impact of mobile phones on pupils’ behaviour in lessons is to be investigated as part of a wider inquiry aimed at improving teachers’ classroom management.

Tom Bennett, a teacher and behaviour expert, is leading a government-commissioned review into how to improve training to better equip new teachers for tackling poor behaviour in the classroom. And the Department for Education has asked him to focus on the potentially disruptive influence of smartphones on learning in school.

A third of schools across England already ban mobiles, claiming they distract and lead to low-level disruption in the classroom, with a further fifth limiting their use in classrooms.

At Kirbky high school, in Knowsley, near Liverpool, mobiles are confiscated if spotted by teachers, put into the school safe and parents are called to collect it at the end of the day. Ebbsfleet academy in Kent claims GCSE results have almost doubled since the school banned smartphones in 2013.

The chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has frequently highlighted the damage that low-level classroom disruption can cause to learning. Last week,he told LBC there was no room for mobiles in classrooms.

The crackdown, however, comes as schools – including many primaries – are increasingly introducing expensive new technology such as iPads to aid learning.