School Standards Update

Department for Education written statement – made at on 19 February 2024.

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Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Secretary of State for Education

Today, the Department for Education published new guidance to ban the use of mobile phones in schools. This guidance provides advice to school leaders on how to develop, implement and maintain a policy that prohibits the use of mobile phones throughout the school day.

There is an increasing body of evidence that shows the unnecessary distraction, disruption and diversion caused by mobile phones in schools. Ofcom’s report found that by the age of 12, 97% of children own a mobile phone. The National Behaviour Survey (2021-2022) found that 29% of secondary school pupils reported mobile phones being used without permission in most of their lessons.

This is why we are determined that all schools should prohibit the use of mobile phones throughout the school day – not only during lessons but break and lunchtimes as well. This will create an environment where pupils can focus on learning and socialising, while ensuring that cyberbullying is never tolerated. We know that that there is large variation in how different schools are managing the use of mobile phones, we also know that schools with exemplary behaviour cultures already prohibit their use. This guidance will allow us to achieve consistency and share best practice to ensure that all pupils are protected from online harms in schools and their teaching time is not disturbed by the use of mobile phones.

This is part of the government's plan to continue to improve educational standards and give children the skills they need, something we have done successfully since 2010.