Fenland school tightens the rules on mobiles

LIFE is going to be quieter at a Fenland school following new rules controlling the use of mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players.

Sir Harry Smith Community College, Whittlesey, says a series of “unhelpful incidents” with mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players have forced them to outlaw the devices in the school corridors.

Deputy Principal Mary Bean said: “It is becoming an issue which is detracting from teaching and learning in the classroom.

“This is causing confrontations between staff and students, which is something we wish to avoid.”

Ms Bean, in a letter to all parents, said it had caused particular problems when students immediately phoned home using their mobiles when an incident occurred.

This has meant staff have not had time to investigate the incident and talk to those involved before parents are involved.

Mrs Bean said: “Over the past year the number of incidents involving handheld devices has increased.

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“The college does not wish to ban handheld devices completely but we do feel it is necessary to tighten up on the rules governing their use.”

Up until now students have been allowed to listen to music and have electronic devices in certain lessons.

But in future no handheld devices can be seen or heard anywhere at the school in Eastrea Road, Whittlesey between 8.40am and 3pm.

Pupils can use them at break times but staff will confiscate handheld devices if they are seen or heard at inappropriate times.

Receptionists will operate a ‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out’ logging system where parents are contacted if students have their phones taken away on three or more occasions.

Ms Bean added: “The vast majority of students already use their phones sensibly in college. Our priorities are to ensure good teaching and learning takes place in college whilst securing the safety and welfare of our students.”

She reassured parents that procedures are in place for contacting parents and guardians in an emergency.

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