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South Australia Is Banning Mobile Phones At All State Primary Schools

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South Australia Is Banning Mobile Phones At All State Primary Schools

South Australia will ban mobile phones in all state primary schools in a plan that is set to be rolled out next year.

Under the new policy, which was announced by Education Minister John Gardner, it will be up to the discretion of the school as to where they allow students to store their phones during school hours, whether it be with a teacher, in a locker or in students' bags.

"We understand families may want their child to have a phone while travelling to and from school so they can contact them outside school hours," Gardner said.

"However, we believe that during school hours it is sensible for primary students to store their personal devices safely (away) so they can focus on learning.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He added that students would be permitted to use phones before and after school, with mobiles only being confiscated while on school grounds.

"At secondary level, we understand there needs to be more flexibility for sites to develop their own policies that reflect the needs of the school community.

"We note that a rule that is appropriate for a 12-year-old student is not always relevant for an 18-year-old."

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High schools will be able to choose their own mobile phone policy 'so long as it supports learning', according to news.com.au.

The move was met with varying opinions, with one parent praising the plan, saying: "Such a great idea. Social media is a huge problem with bullying and lessening the access to phones during school hours will make a huge difference."

SA Primary Principals Association president Angela Falkenberg told The Advertiser while teachers generally agreed that students could 'live without their phone,' she was worried that the rule could create more anxiety for families unable to contact their children throughout the day.

The restriction won't apply to laptops or tablets that are used for learning in class.

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It follows a similar move introduced in Western Australia earlier last year.

In October 2019, the State government announced its new 'off and away' campaign that saw most technology removed from personal use from 2020 in a bid to encourage students to commit to learning.

Students aren't allowed to access their smart phone from the moment they step into school until the moment they leave - including before school hours start and during breaks like lunch and recess.

But it's not just phones that are banned; smart watches, earbuds, tablets and headphones are all on the chopping block unless under the instruction of a staff member.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: schools, Australia

Jessica Lynch
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