Smartphones and tablets could be banned from classrooms

Experts recently expressed concerns over their potential to disrupt lessons

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Smartphones and other personal electronic devices such as tablets could be banned from the classroom over fears they disrupt lessons.

The schools minister, Nick Gibb, said a behaviour expert, Tom Bennett, will look into the impact of devices used by pupils under an expansion of his investigation into how to train teachers to deal with poor behaviour.

It follows concerns raised by the schools inspectorate Ofsted over secondary-age pupils using their phones at school. Mr Bennett said: “Technology is transforming society and even classrooms – but all too often we hear of lessons being disrupted by the temptation of the smartphone … when [children] have a smartphone in their pocket that offers instant entertainment and reward, they can be easily distracted.”

A recent London School of Economics study suggested restricting mobile phone use could improve school results.

Ofsted’s annual report disclosed a seven percentage point drop in the proportion of secondary schools where behaviour and safety were good or outstanding in 2013-14 compared with 2012-13, and found too many instances of pupils “using their mobiles”. The Government said GCSE results at the Ebbsfleet Academy in Kent had almost doubled since the school banned smartphones in 2013.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “It is important to remember that technology, including the use of smartphones, can be part of successful teaching and learning strategies.”

A National Association of Head Teachers Association spokesman added: “Many school leaders speak of the positive role these devices can play in learning. Phones and tablets are part of modern life.”

Press Association