back to article Tories call for mobile phone ban in schools

Mobile phones would be outlawed in UK classrooms under Conservative Party plans to beef up discipline in schools. The Tories said in an education policy document that they wanted to see authority returned to teachers. They reckoned an important part of that proposal would include a crackdown on the use of mobile phones. David …


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  1. Dave

    Someone forgot to tell my school....

    QUOTE: "Under current government policy, teachers do not have the legal authority to confiscate mobile phones from school kids."

    I think someone forgot to tell my school this - teachers would happily confiscate mobile phones from the students during classes - they would be returned at the end of the class, or occasionally not until the end of the day.

    In some cases, which were quite funny, the teacher would answer the phone... although this mostly only happened during 6th form - where teaching was more relaxed and if your phone rang you'd just be told to turn it off rather than being shouted at/otherwise punished.

    Bring it on i say, kids today have no respect.

  2. Michael Parker

    Why stop there...?

    I mean, imagine the BLISS of banning mobile phones in, ooh, trains? Planes? and (when driving) automobiles. (A quick and safe look around on my drive down the M4 every day shows that people still do use phones when they drive...)

    Perhaps the kidz of today should do without their phones for a bit longer, possibly the Tories should suggest no TXT B4 M@rij...?

    If the kidz want to film happy slapping incidents after the ban, they can just use a digital camera, surely...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "teachers do not have the legal authority to confiscate mobile phones"

    What a ridiculous concept. If teachers have the authority to exclude children who don't obey the rules, what other authority do they need? And if they don't have that authority then they're doomed.

    And if they had the authority to confiscate a phone, what if it is later claimed that the phone belongs to someone else? You really don't want to get involved in confiscating property unless you're a specialist in that field of endeavour. (Illegally parked cars are perhaps an exception as they have registered owners and you can, I think, blame the owner for an illegally parked car even if the car was lent or stolen.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think they're missing the point

    Teacher's should be able to decide what does and doesn't interrupt their classes and react appropriately. The government arbitarily solving one problem doesn't really help anyone. The mobile problem is fairly easy to solve without banning: "That's your 'phone ringing, detention if it happens again.

  5. Ash

    No LEGAL authority?

    I have a feeling that the agreements that parents sign regarding the rules and regulations of the school will include something about confiscation of articles not permitted on premises, i.e. mobile phones, personal music players, games systems etc.

    Obviously they can't TAKE it from the student without permission, but if asked politely yet sternly to place the phone on the teacher's desk (turned off, of course), or spend the rest of the day outside the headteacher's office, I think most would be inclined to give up the contraband for a coupe of hours.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never thought I'd agree with the Tories but...

    I can see no reason at all for children to have mobile phones in schools. They didn't need them 20 years ago and they don't need them now.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Education Secretry "Ed Balls"


  8. Keith SLoan

    Banning Mobile Phones thats outrageous.

    My daughter has a mobile phone so that she can phone home to arrange for lifts. It solves the problem that sometime she stays for clubs and sport.

    I fully support them not accessing them or answering them in class. Butto ban them outright is Outrageous !!!!!!

  9. The Other Steve

    Back in the mists of time...

    (well, the mid nineties anyway), I had a series of mobes while in sixth form. I would never have dreamed of entering a classroom without switching off my phone. To behave otherwise is just plain rude.

    I hate to jump on the "Kids These Days Have No Respect"® bandwagon, but hey, if the glove fits...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @ Finnbar

    "I can see no reason at all for children to have mobile phones in schools. They didn't need them 20 years ago and they don't need them now."

    Yes, They didn't need computers 20 years ago either, and I'm not sure they're needed now; however, they also used the cane 20 years ago and I'm pretty sure it's a good idea to bring that back. Kids today have absolutely no respect toward their elders and betters whatsoever (in general), and need to be taught at an early age that a) it's not okay to commit crimes, and b) that if they do, they won't go to a cozy prison that gives them Playstations and wireless internet.

  11. Michael Parker

    Kids don't need mobiles...

    most schools have a pay phone, end of "after school club" nip to pay phone, 20p, job done...

    kids want phones to look kool... deal.

  12. Anton Ivanov
    Dead Vulture

    Gawd, what an awfull coverage, you missed the most entertaining bit

    You missed the most entertaining part of the Tories proposals.

    Namely, the most entertaining part of their proposals is that children will learn to read BY THE AGE OF 6 through the use of FULLY SYNTHETIC PHONICS. All that can be said - is "total BS". Whoever wrote it had no clue whatsoever about education, language theory, theory of cognition and so on.

    Fully synthetic phonics is the preferred method of learning to read in most countries on the continent and it achieves a much higher reading rate and from there on generally better average academic achievement rate by the age of 7 - 7 and a half.

    There is a major caveat - it requires the children to have fully developed abstract thinking and relatively developed ability to sit in the classroom and do seemingly meaningless stuff as a prerequisite. It also requires very structured classroom teaching. This is impossible before the age of 6-7. Suggesting that children learn using this method to the point where they are competent readers by the age of 6 is utterly insane. There are children that can learn using this method prior to that age, but they are usually in the sub-5% of the population and frankly most of them are in the population which UK tags as "special needs".

    Compared to this gem the mobile BS is just a joke and should be treated as such.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outrageous? Hardly

    Our school had a ban on them (when I was in school, anyway).

    That doesn't mean you can't have one, it means you get punished if you're stupid enough to get caught with it (usually by leaving it turned on during lessons and having it ring).

    Bring it on, I say.

  14. Glynn Williams
    Thumb Up

    @ Keith Sloan

    I also had to stay behind for clubs/sports at school when I was there 10 years ago.

    But instead of a mobile phone that, really didn't exist in those days (oh! Such days!) my parents gave me a BT ChargeCard Homecall number. It meant that I could call home so that a lift could be arranged.

    I agree that a ban on mobiles in schools should be a must. They are a nuisance!

    And I can't understand how Ed Balls can say exclusions without appeal is unworkable... Surely this worked well for many years before it was implemented?

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Joe Harrison

    I'm very bored

    With the codgers who insist on blowing about modern kids being soft and when THEY were a lad they ad ter walk barefoot to school in a blizzard uphill both ways etc. etc. Yawn. Mobile phones are a fact of life for kids or anyone else and very useful they are too. As is learning about the courtesy of switching your phone off or silent when appropriate.

  17. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: LMFAO @ Ed Balls

    I take it you're not in the UK? We finished our guffaws about that one months ago. Nice though, isn't it? Ed Balls. Heh.

  18. Simon Painter

    Oh please...

    Now mobile phones are the problem!!!

    Really the problem with education lies with the teachers. Why do we still trust the futures of our children to people who can't/won't get a real job? Despite heavy advertising to claim otherwise, teaching is still the domain of those who are happy to settle for a mediocre existence ticking government boxes in return for part time hours and three months of holiday each year.

    Reduce holiday entitlement (by forcing teachers to spend a portion of the school holidays doing training to enable them to do their jobs competently), increase working hours (teachers should be contractually obliged to remain at work until 5.30pm either marking homework or taking part in teaching after-school activities) and toughen up entrance criteria (at least 10 years of experience outside of education should be a minimum to give the teacher some real world experience and the ability to command a little respect) to thin out some of the dross and then increase the pay to turn if from being a drop outs job into a desirable profession.

  19. Jonathan Lancaster

    re:fat lazy kids

    You also didn't have the same level of concern about kids getting mugged or worse on the way home.

    As for payphones- do you really think that those things work a week after they've been installed?

  20. Chris


    I think all this is just plain rediculous! Instead of trying to protect us from ourselves and put stupid laws and policies in place; why do we not TALK to our children and teach them about manners, respect and being sensible etc etc!? For example, the simple words:

    "Make sure you keep your phone at least on silent or off till you need it okay!?".

    How hard is it to communicate with people these days!? I find it amazing that people are becoming increasing unable to communicate with each other, and they just seem to merrily follow the will of what the government deems necessary. People these days need to be given assistance in 'Please & Thank yous"! Not a very good role model for the younger generation who are then slated with "Youngens these days; no respect!".

    More and more we are told what we NEED to do in society; by those who wouldn't even know what 'society' was if it jumped up and bit them on the face. Do they have families of their own, do they know how to talk to their own children, do they understand the meaning of manners and respect themselves? ... I think that answer is painfully clear!


  21. Thorin


    Ya why would we have parents actually you know parent and teach their kids about appropriate use of their phones when we can just pass law to deal with the issue. How pathetic the world has become.......

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. yeah, right.

    levels of ban?

    There's banning the physical devices completely from the schools, and there's banning the use of them. The first is probably not an option, the second is something I would wholeheartedly support.

    As in, if your phone rings in the school, or if you use it in the school, something bad happens to you (whatever "bad" means in schools today, given that almost all authority to punish has been removed from teachers and school administrators).

    Meanwhile, parents clamouring that their precious dolts need an electronic leash should be told to fuck off. They do NOT need to contact their children during school hours. If they have a problem, call the school.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Painter

    I think someone is not quite bright enough to realise that the Daily Mail is not an unimpeachable source of information on the working lives of teachers. Teachers have a lot of work to do outside of the teaching hours, and don't just do a light 9 - 3.30 shift before disappearing to the pub.

    And believe it or not, some people chooose to go into teaching because they have a strong desire to actually put something back into society, rather than just milking it for as much cash as they can.

    As for your suggestion of making potential candidates spend time in the "real world" beforehand - do you really think that spending 10 years writing unix shell scripts gives you the kind of experience necessary be the kind of inspirational teacher everyone wants for their kids? (apologies to Reg readers for this gross stereotype; I'm posting anonymously in case my sysadmin sees this and reeks his revenge BOFH style...)

  25. Gulfie

    Yes to carrying phones

    I'd like to vote against all those small-minded people who'd like to ban mobile phones in school. Ban them being switched on in school, but don't ban them being carried around.

    My son has ADHD, the most appropriate school for him is out of catchment, we don't get council support because he's not bad enough to be statemented, and my wife and I both work. Therefore he gets a regular bus (not a dedicated school bus) there and back. A phone is essential so that he can tell us he's got to school, gone to homework club, has caught (or missed, as has happened) the bus to/from school.

    And don't get me started on the distorted junk that was Panorama last week. I'm sure all parents of ADHD kids were, like me, grinding their teeth whilst watching... some very good points buried amongst over-exaggerated and distorted misinformation...

  26. Tom


    Living over a mile away from school? That makes you within the closest 20% then? I lived about 3 miles from school and still walked. But I know people that lived 10/12/15 miles from school (and this is a town school, not countryside).

    It's simple. Kids can take mobiles/iPods/whatever to school, but if they go off then they get them taken away!

  27. Dave

    @Simon Painter

    How well did you know your teachers at school? by the time i left i knew mine very well, even to this day i call by to say hello and catch up to see how things were.

    All of them worked extremely hard, often above and beyond what they were paid for to put something extra into the school and into their teaching. More than once during my GCSEs and A-Levels staff would come into school during the holidays, along with the students to go over extra revision classes before exams and when there were high coursework levels.

    They also went to great lengths to run after-school activities and events - none of which they are paid to do.

    Perhaps i wasn't clear in my original comment - an outright ban is a bit pointless - as pointed out mobile phones can be quite useful (although at my school if you *needed* to use the phone you could pop into your head of years office and use theirs - when i was ringing round universities on results day they had no problems with me using it) If your phone rings during a lesson then you should face the consequences - keep it on silent, in your pocket/bag then there shouldn't be a problem.

    As it happens, i'm only 21 and i managed fine - i didn't have a mobile phone until i was 16 - we didn't even have a landline at home until sometime after that.

  28. The Other Steve

    @Simon Painter

    I'm not so polite as the above commenter, so I'm just going to call you out for the ignorant, horse shit spewing, trolling cunt bubble that you are, and pretty much leave it at that.

  29. Nathanael Bastone


    Now in most areas of life, I like to take the tory view, but when it comes down to education, I really respect the current system (though I don't like new-style GCSEs and A levels (luckily, I escaped having to take them, and took the good old ones. to give you an idea of the difference, chemistry GCSE at our school 2 years ago, 3 A* passes. last year, 43 A* passes.) Anyway, I agree mobile phones should be off when in class, but outside of class many of us require them. Text messages are a standard means of communication now, banning mobiles is like banning writing letters. I notice, however, that the schools do not discourage people writing letters.

  30. Andy Barber

    @ Michael Parker

    It's 40p for a payphone call

  31. Matthew
    Paris Hilton


    Guess there will be no need for schools to host cell sites then?

  32. Andrew Norton


    Don't see your point. I had ADD, my step-daughter has ADHD (she's 11). I was born and raised in Liverpool and lived in the Tuebrook area and went to school in Wavertree (right at the end of Penny Lane) It wasn't all that long ago, and I missed city busses all the time. some mornings I had to walk, if there was a bus strike, or they didn't come. 2 1/2 miles, across 3 of the main routes into the city center (west derby road, Prescott lane/Kensington and Edge lane - which is fed by the M62).

    I Didn't need a cell phone to call my parents to tell them I was at school, or that I'd missed the bus. It might only have been 10 years ago, but we had common sense back then. And gee, do you think that he will always tell you the truth? I was also one of my group of friends that lived closest to the school. One lived right by Aintree racecourse, at the north end of the city, was an hours bus ride, and he had to go past the spot where jammie Bulger was murdered, every day.

    We needed a phone? There was a payphone inside the school building, at the office. in the last 2-3 years of attendance, I did have a cell phone, but I didn't take it with me, generally. I saved it (a then brand new nokia 1612 on 121) for the rare occasions when I would be going on somewhere else, and I didn't turn it on at all in school.

    Yes teachers need more powers, no kids don't need cell phones, some teachers need real life experiance, yes. Saying that, the best english teacher I had was a lovely young (hot) mancunian lady, fresh with her degree. The best math teacher however, had spent years designing the pipes for chemical plants. It depends on the person.

  33. Terry Patterson

    Legal position

    Dear all,

    A quick search on Teachernet suggests this is a spurious debate. Schools do have the power to confiscate mobile phones: see

    From an education point of view - a mobile phone is a powerful portable computing device and schools will learn one day how to access these for educational benefit.

    It's up to individual schools to set a policy - hence the variety of responses from our younger contributors!

    All the best


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