Should mobile phones be banned in schools - and is Islington academy right to keep them from parents?
Last week we reported that City of London Academy Islington had refused to return a pupil’s confiscated phone until the end of term – even when her mum went in to ask for it.
The same day, the new boss of schools watchdog Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, raised the prospect of banning mobiles from all schools, saying they are a huge distraction and can be used for cyber-bullying and even to access online porn.
Yet many parents want to be able to stay in touch with their kids to make sure they are safe on the way to or from school, feeling it is fine as long as they don’t use phones in lessons.
So should pupils be allowed to take mobiles into school? And should teachers have the power to keep them against the parents’ wishes if they are caught using them? Andr� Langlois asked the people of Islington Green what they think.
Junga Redz, 39, a meter reader of St Philip’s Way, Islington, said: “They shouldn’t be allowed phones in school and my 13-year-old daughter keeps hers at home.
“But if a kid does have a phone their mum and dad should be told and they should get a warning first. What’s the point in the school confiscating the phone until the end of term? That’s bang out of order when it’s the parent’s property.”
Judy Tcherniak, 66, a semi-retired actress from Enfield who was shopping, said: “I’m sure it must be very distracting for everybody but on the other hand I suppose they need to have them for going home.
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“Confiscating for that long is a bit much. I can understand there being a rule in a school, but I think it should be confiscated but given back at the end of the day.”
Andrew Edwards, 30, of Petherton Road, Highbury, who works in customer services, said: “They should be allowed in school but not in class. Maybe they should hand it in when they get to school and get it back at the end of the day. I’ve just recently had a son and I would want to know where he is.
“The school keeping them is too much - if the parents want the phone back they should get it.”
Mark Reale, 45, of Coleman Fields, Islington, who works in communications, said: “I can see how they are a real distraction but this is a modern world where you have a different level of communication.
“It would be going backwards to ban them but during lessons quite strict controls are needed. I would imagine not retuning the phone to the parents is illegal. Schools need to get in the real world.”
Sophia Caprani, 24, an estate agent who was shopping in Islington, said: “I had a phone when I was 12.
“I couldn’t use it in class but then we just kept them in our bags and that was fine. When you have spent money on a Blackberry you are going to want it back.”
Martin Norbert, 43, of Britannia Row, Islington, a security officer, said: “It depends on the age. Probably at around the age of 15 is okay but 12 is too young. They should be able to use them on breaks or during lunch.
“But it probably distracts their studies being on Facebook and Twitter, chatting to each other. They’re probably using them in class, under the desk.”
Kelly Fisher, 19, a bartender from Ball’s Pond Road, Canonbury, said: “If the parents are okay with it then the school should be. They shouldn’t use them during class but they might need them for walking home – if there’s trouble they can call the police. When I was at school my mum wanted to know that I was fine.
“If the parents want the confiscated phone back at the end of the day then the school shouldn’t have the power to keep it.”