2019 Autumn Term 2

The know zone

  • Reception baseline assessments
    ASCL Primary Specialist, Tiffnie Harris, gives an update on the new Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) pilots and says while overall feedback has been positive, there are some concerns. More
  • Building strong foundations
    Business Leadership Specialist, Hayley Dunn, shares top tips to help you work effectively with your school business leader. More
  • Collaboration wins the day
    Deputy Director of Policy, Duncan Baldwin, on why collaboration gets a 'gold star' and the DfE gets 'must do better'. More
  • Internal scrutiny
    While the new Academies Financial Handbook adds more regularity burdens on trusts, if employed correctly, the scrutiny undertaken can add significant value to trusts and reassure trustees that key risks are being mitigated effectively, says James Taylor from Cooper Parry. More
  • Mobile coverage
    Do you allow mobile phones to be used in class or do you have an outright ban on usage? Are they useful or are they a hindrance in your school or college? Here, ASCL members share their views. More
  • Equality for all
    Chief Executive Officer Kamal Hanif OBE has been a member of ASCL Council since 2015 and is on the Council's Ethics, Inclusion and Equalities Committee. More
  • Little wonders
    A new intake of 11 year-olds is a colourful, joyous - and well-equipped - thing to behold. If only we could bottle that initial courage and infectious passion for later years, says one head. More
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Do you allow mobile phones to be used in class or do you have an outright ban on usage? Are they useful or are they a hindrance in your school or college? Here, ASCL members share their views.

Mobile Coverage


We banned the use of mobile phones by all students (except sixth formers in their social areas) in September 2018. At the same time, staff were asked not to use personal mobiles in the presence of students. Our expectation is clear and the message simple – if a student’s phone is seen during school hours, it is confiscated until the end of the day.

The positive impact has been seen by everyone connected to the school – students are no longer ‘glued’ to their phones. There is greater engagement in lesson time, as phones no longer provide any distraction. Students are more sociable and talkative out of class. Our academic results have seen an improvement and the policy has been universally supported. Student voice even suggests that the students themselves appreciate the break from social media.

Ann Webb
Headteacher, Ysgol John Bright,
Llandudno, Conwy, County Borough, North Wales

Strike a balance

In our school we try to strike a balance. Our ‘Phone Zones’ are designated spaces in the school – the dining room, school field, outdoor yard – where phones can be used during social time. If phones are seen outside of these areas and times, they are confiscated and students can collect them at the end of the day (if they are confiscated more than once, then parents collect them). If used in class (relatively rare), the teacher displays a sign in their window saying that their use has been authorised. Where mobiles become a reoccurring issue, we work with parents to ensure phones are left at school or handed in when they arrive in school.

Ben Lacey
Assistant Headteacher,
High Storrs School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Help children navigate the perils

Social technology is here to stay, and we believe very strongly at our school that it is our duty as educators to ensure that all students are enabled to use their devices safely and responsibly. The key to this is to make sure clear procedures, policies and training are consistently applied and monitored, and understood by all.

We insist on all parents and students signing up to our policies and each year all of our students must successfully complete four bespoke online safety modules, as an insurance that they know the laws, dangers and what to do if they have any concerns. We have as a leadership team seen mobile phones used in some exceptionally creative ways to support learning but there are too areas of the school where mobile phones are not allowed.

Our system works for us – communications have improved considerably – and why would we ban something that has become a huge part of modern life without helping our children navigate their way through the perils?

Mark Fitzgibbon
Deputy Head teacher, 
The Marlborough Science Academy, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Mobiles create conflict

Mobile phones were an expectation among students at our school. However, they created conflict that we could not see and stopped student interaction. A parent even commented that children had more access to their phones at school than they do at home. Parental consultation was supportive of a change to our rules and these rules were then shared with students. With plenty of lead time, we took the decision to ban the use of phones from 8am to 3.30pm. If seen, phones are confiscated and collected at the end of the day. If repeated, parents have to collect after school.

The impact has been phenomenal. This week, only two incidences of mobile phones being seen, both genuine mistakes by the students. The school feels a calmer, more welcoming place as a result. More importantly, we have removed a source of conflict for staff and students. Staff also report a significant reduction in their reliance on mobile devices, too.

Ray Baker
Lytham St Annes High School, Lancashire