Mobile Phone Policy Changes
Tuesday 12th December 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
Subject: Updated Student and Parent Mobile Phone Agreement
We are writing to inform you about important changes to our approach to using mobile phones and devices in school.
As you are aware the Department for Education made an announcement earlier this year that there were plans to ban students from using mobile phones in all schools. This is due to the impact devices can have on attention, behaviour, and safeguarding issues. However, there is yet to be any legislation published around this.
In response to the announcement, the Senior Leadership Team at Laleham Gap have been reviewing our existing approaches surrounding the use of mobile phones and personal devices. This was the focus of our recent coffee morning and we have continued to consult members across our school community about this.
Many schools have chosen to ban mobile phones entirely; however, as a communication and interaction provision, we recognise the importance of these devices in our students’ lives, particularly in aiding communication and addressing anxieties related to school, transitions, and transport. At present, our approach remains that we wish to educate our students about safe and responsible use, rather than imposing an out-right ban. Our ethos has always been that we are happy for children to use their devices providing they adhere to the conditions below:
- The school is not responsible for loss or damage to mobile phones and other personal devices.
- Phones must not be used during lesson times unless permitted by the teacher.
- Inappropriate use of phones will result in parental contact and could lead to phone safety interventions or a ban
Following feedback from our school community, we will also be implementing a number of changes within our policies to ensure that our students use their devices responsibly. Some of these changes will take effect from January 2024:
- To support our policy and our safeguarding procedures, we are requesting that all parents provide us with the make, model, and mobile number of your child's device using the slip attached to this letter. This is information we have routinely requested in the past and will be securely stored and used only in cases of loss or if there are concerns about inappropriate calls or messages. Please rest assured that we will respect your privacy and only use these details in safeguarding scenarios. We ask for these details to be sent to us by Friday 12th January 2024. Failure to provide this information by the deadline will require your child to leave their phone at home.
- There will be no changes to the Primary Age Phase routines for phones and devices.
- The second break (10:50 am) for the Secondary Age Phase, will be a phone and device free break to encourage all students to engage with others. There will also be no use of phones and devices during the first part of lunch until to allow all students to interact while eating together.
- Children using phones in school will be asked to do so in designated areas. For Year 7 to 10, this will be within their designated hub. This will help us to monitor and address safeguarding issues swiftly. Year 11 and upwards will be allowed to use their phones around the school, providing they do so responsibly.
- We will be encouraging all students to use our Guest Wi-Fi when in school. This offers the same level of filtering and protection as our main network, helping to keep student safe.
- It will be an expectation that all students follow the school charters and student acceptable use policies, else they will receive a phone ban. We have included a copy of the Student Acceptable Use Policy to review.
- We are encouraging all parents to look at the EE Phone Smart license with their children. This will be particularly helpful to children new to using mobile phones and may be useful to any child receiving a phone over the holiday period. The site can be accessed at: https://eephonesmart.co.uk/
Please note, the additional changes from September 2024:
It is our intention that all children entering Year 7 will follow a model that aligns with our Primary Age Phase. This means that devices will be available for transport and in case of emergencies but will be handed in at reception and stored securely until the end of the day.
Students entering Year 8 and those identified as needing additional support will be required to complete a Phone Smart License and work within the curriculum, before being allowed to use their device throughout the day. This will help to ensure that all students understand how to use their devices responsibly and respectfully and know how to seek support if it is needed.
There will be more allocated time in Personal Development, Learning for Life and Computing Lessons to explicitly teach online safety. We are also asking our staff to role model a culture of reducing the frequency of mobile phone use.
We appreciate your support in these changes and believe that they will contribute to a safer and more focused learning environment. Our goal is to prepare our students to use technology responsibly and effectively in their academic and personal lives.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Mr J Payne Mr Les Milton
Assistant Headteacher Headteacher
Safeguarding and Wellbeing
Mobile Phone Details and Agreement
For the attention of Mrs S Sullivan Please return by Friday 12th January 2024
Mobile Phone number:
Make and Model of mobile phone: