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Pembrokeshire school’s ‘check-in’ mobile phones policy praised

A PEMBROKESHIRE school, which operates a ‘check-in’ facility for pupils’ mobile phones, could become a model followed by others in the county, councillors heard.

The issue of mobile phones and their effect on pupil’s education was raised in a submitted question by Councillor Viv Stoddart, heard at the December 14 meeting of full council.

Cllr Stoddart said: “During a recent visit to Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi by a panel of councillors serving on the council’s Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee, members were impressed with the school’s mobile phones policy.

“Last month the visiting panel reported back to the scrutiny committee that the system of pupils checking their phones into a locked cabinet at the start of the school day, and retrieving them at the end of the day, had resulted in a 75 per cent improvement in safeguarding, vastly improved behaviour and better communication.

“Will the Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language [Cllr Guy Woodham] tell council how many of our secondary schools have a similar “check-in” mobile phones’ policy which reduces classroom disruption, improves learning and prevents pupils being bullied?”

Cllr Vivien Stoddart (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

Responding, Cllr Woodham said St Davids’ Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi was the only school in the county currently operating such a scheme.

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He said a recent presentation by the school’s head to other headteachers prior to the recent visit had shown an encouraging difference in behaviour and safeguarding, despite initial teething problems.

He said other schools in the county were monitoring the effects of the policy, with a briefing for school governors expected in the Spring.

Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Guy Woodham (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council webcast)

Cllr Stoddart welcomed to news, hoping the council would give it support.

Cllr Woodham stressed the council would encourage adoption of similar policies rather than enforce such conditions, but added: “The evidence does seem to support that it makes a significant difference.”