Removing the RAAS phone policy
If you are unaware of the new policy that is being put into place, please read here:
In the Partnership with Parents meeting earlier this year there was a very good discussion about mobile phones. There was widespread agreement that although they bring many advantages the smartphone aspect of them had caused many problems: too much screen-time, an obsession with being “connected”, an all-too-easy ability to target individuals for bullying, the spreading of photos and other information which is not healthy to pupils, an expectation and addiction for the children of instant responses from each other. There is clear evidence that all of these aspects over time are unhealthy for children in their development.
In the Partnership with Parents meeting there was agreement that we as a school would support pupils not having access to mobile phones during the school day. This then allowing school to be a haven away from them – that they might be able to wean themselves away from the above. There are of course some disadvantages of this in the school context – the internet capability and some applications are very useful to the classroom. However, it is felt that the advantages of the pupils not having mobile phones during the school day outweigh the disadvantages.
My proposal to you is that from September 2018 the school does not allow pupils to have in their possession mobile phones, or tablets, during the extended school day for any pupils not in the sixth form.
For boarders we propose to only allow them access to the phones for a particular window of time in the afternoon or evening. Otherwise they will be kept in locked and secure storage in the boarding house. There have been issues with boarders spending too much time on their phones during the evenings as well, as I am sure parents have found at home from time to time. We do have a Skype room in each boarding house as well as a telephone for the boarders to be able to communicate home, in any case.
For flexi boarders ideally we do not want the phones to be brought into school at all but recognise that as parents you may prefer pupils to have phones with them in case arrangements need to be made regarding pick-up, etc. What I propose here is that the flexi boarders may bring them into school but only if they hand them into boarding house in the morning and then collect them from the boarding house later when leaving to go home. Parents can always contact the boarding house directly if they wish to get a message to a pupil. We are suggesting that flexi boarders collect the phones before they go home, rather than at the end of the school day because we do not want the extended day and co-curricular time to be infected with phone use either. You will also appreciate that this aspect needs to be the same for boarders and flexi boarders. One additional point is that we feel the pupils will socialise more productively if not glued to their phones.