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Pembrokeshire schools’ mobile phone policies to be questioned

Pembrokeshire County Council, Haverfordwest

A CALL to ask how many Pembrokeshire schools operate a ‘check-in’ facility for mobile phones, where pupils’ phones are stored while they are taught is to be heard later this week.

In her submitted question ahead of the December 14 meeting of full council, Councillor Viv Stoddart will ask: “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)

Back in 2019, Cllr Reg Owens had called for school governing bodies to ban mobile phones during school hours unless pupils were in the sixth form.

The September 2019 schools and learning overview and scrutiny committee discussed Cllr Owen’s notice but noted that schools already had policies in place, with all secondary schools not allowing mobile phone use in the day.