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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 16:43 GMT
Schools ban mobile phones
Many schools now operate a ban on mobile phones
School-age children are at least five times more likely to be victims of mobile phone theft than adults, results published by the Home Office suggest.

Many such thefts are said to take place around the school gates - so some head teachers have decided it is best to ban phones altogether.

There is a strict policy on mobile phones at Great Barr School in Birmingham.

Pupils and parents know that any child found with a mobile phone on their person will have it confiscated.

If you remove the article, then in a way it does solve some of the problem

Nigel Williams
The comprehensive school for 11 to 18 year olds believes no pupil needs to have a telephone in school.

Mobile phones, as well as items such as designer trainers, were "attractive" and not necessary during the school day, said Nigel Williams, deputy head with responsibility for pastoral care at Great Barr.

"Schools are not a place for youngsters to show off with what they've got.

"It's unfair that they should have a platform for exhibiting expensive items," he said.


Great Barr School does make some exceptions to the rule, for example if the parents of a child with a medical condition wanted their son or daughter to have a mobile for their journey to school.

girl on phone
Many young people now own a mobile phone
"The instances where a mobile phone would be needed by a young person are minimal, but we have to work with parents who feel their children need a mobile phone," said Mr Williams.

But even here, the pupil must have special permission to bring the mobile onto the premises and must leave it locked away in their house office as soon as they arrive.

"If a pupil needs to contact someone, they should use the pastoral system in the school rather than phone," said Mr Williams.

"We did manage without mobile phones before this influx!" he added.


Mr Williams said a school ban gave a child a good answer if they were approached by someone in the street demanding their mobile phone.

"To say 'Our school doesn't allow us to have mobiles' is a way of combatting the request.

"Of course, it doesn't mean the person who's approached them will believe them, but it might help.

"If you remove the article, then in a way it does solve some of the problem," he said.

See also:

29 Jul 98 | Education
Teachers back mobile phone ban
09 Mar 00 | Education
Bullies use mobile phone threats
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