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Friday, 11 February, 2000, 12:39 GMT
Pupils fined for ringing phones

pupils going to school Many pupils now take mobile phones to school


A school is fining pupils 5 every time their mobile telephones ring during lessons.

The penalty has been introduced at St Bartholomew's School in Newbury, Berkshire, because teachers were fed up with ringing phones interrupting classes.


You are there to learn and to concentrate on your work. You can't do that if you're being text messaged, playing games, or receiving calls. It's basic courtesy
Stuart Robinson


The school is saving up any fines collected, and giving the money to charities such as the British Heart Foundation.

A survey carried out by the head teacher Stuart Robinson showed that 30% of the 1,700 pupils at the school owned mobile phones.

He was shocked to find that in one class of 11-year-olds, seven out of 25 pupils were carrying phones in their pockets.

Mr Robinson is reported to have said that the school could not place a complete ban on phones, as there were occasions when parents urgently needed to contact their children.

But he has warned that phones and lessons do not mix - and says that the policy of fining pupils is working.

'We have to adjust'

"It is the modern day equivalent of passing notes in class," he is quoted as saying. "People need to be disciplined. The simple message is 'phones in classrooms are a big no-no'.

"You are there to learn and to concentrate on your work. You can't do that if you're being text messaged, playing games, or receiving calls. It's basic courtesy.

"The reality is that in five years' time, every pupil in every school will have a mobile phone.

"We have to adjust to this, and be more sophisticated to educate pupils that it is not right to use phones in certain circumstances."

Pupils' parents are said to be fully supporting the policy, although, unsurprisingly, some of the pupils are reported to be unhappy about it.

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See also:
10 Jan 00 |  Education
Mobile phone pressure on school budgets
06 Jan 00 |  Education
Violence threat to mobile phone pupils
29 Jul 98 |  Education
Teachers back mobile phone ban
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