Banning Smartphones in England’s Schools: An Alternative Solution

The Department of Education of England has released new guidance to guide head teachers to mitigate the distractions and behavioural issues that smartphones cause during the school day.

The implementation of this new guidance follows extensive efforts from teachers, head teachers, and school behaviour advisors to reduce the use of smartphones in and between classrooms. 

A recent UNESCO report points to the negative impact smartphone usage has on student attention spans. Additionally, extensive research indicates that consistent smartphone use is detrimental to student attention spans, reducing their ability to focus, and impacting development beyond the classroom. Findings indicate that there are implications for sleep schedules, social development, and distraction-seeking behaviour. 

This move follows French, Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch educators having already banned smartphones from their classrooms.

However, the importance of smartphones in the modern world cannot be ignored. In a rapidly evolving technological world, educational institutions need to appreciate the potential of mobile devices.

Rather than perceiving smartphones as distractions, Mobile Guardian views smartphones as powerful tools to enrich learning and foster digital literacy in students. A total ban extends beyond the classroom, complicating transport arrangements, communication with parents, lift groups, and afternoon activities.

The virtues of smartphones in education are evident: 

  1. Access to a Wealth of Information:
    With the internet at their fingertips, students can instantly access a vast repository of knowledge, resources, and educational apps, promoting independent and continuous learning.
  2. Collaboration and Communication:
    Mobile phones facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among students, allowing them to work on group projects, share ideas, and engage in peer learning experiences.
  3. Digital Skills Development:
    Embracing mobile technology equips students with essential digital skills, preparing them to be competent and confident participants in the digital age workforce.
  4. Personalised Learning:
    Mobile devices enable educators to tailor learning experiences to individual student needs, ensuring that each student receives personalised attention and support.
  5. Real-World Preparedness:
    Integrating mobile phones into the classroom environment prepares students for the realities of the modern world, where technology is deeply integrated into every aspect of daily life and professional settings.
  6. Enhanced Engagement and Motivation:
    By incorporating mobile phones into lessons, educators can tap into students’ interests and tech-savvy nature, leading to increased engagement and motivation to learn.

Mobile Guardian’s device management solutions allow educators to remove distractions from students’ palms, without resorting to a total ban on smartphones. Schools are empowered to implement existing policies.

Patrick Lawson, CEO of Mobile Guardian said:

“We understand that educators and parents are in need of ways to manage student attention in a way that is both effective and fair. Our device management solution provides a pathway to grant students their attention spans again. Thus allowing students to use their devices for educational and personal purposes, but at the right times of the day. We believe that mobile phones, when properly managed, can be powerful assets in enhancing education. With our proven education-focussed products, safe and structured environments that allow students to leverage the full potential of their mobile devices for academic growth may be created.”

Successfully implemented throughout secondary schools in Singapore, Mobile Guardian ensures prescribed mobile devices are used in line with national device usage policies. Devices are managed by educators during school hours and by parents once at home.


Nic Norman

Team Mobile Guardian


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