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Sunday, 5 March, 2000, 11:24 GMT
Woodhead: Ban school mobile menace
Child in classroom
Mobiles are "wrong" in classroom, says Woodhead
The chief inspector of schools in England has called on headmasters to ban mobile phones from the classroom.

Chris Woodhead said: "The mobile phone is extremely disruptive and if I was still teaching and there were mobile phones that ever rang in my classroom, I would want to know why.

"They've got an essential place in modern society, but in the wrong place - restaurants and schools - they are a menace.

"This is a disruption to the concentration, the attention that children should be giving to their learning in school."

He said mobiles should be switched off until they were needed and added: "At the moment it is just a knee-jerk reflex - reach for your phone when you are bored."


Mr Woodhead: "Computer must never substitute teacher"
Mr Woodhead also said computers and the internet should never replace the role of a teacher in schools.

He said many youngsters were "wasting their time" surfing the internet because many teachers did not have the expertise to use the technology.

Mr Woodhead expressed concern that there was a danger of some children plagiarising large chunks of work from the web.

He said he supported the government's plans for installing more computers in the UK's schools, and added: "The commitment to fund extra information technology is absolutely right.

But Mr Woodhead told GMTV's Sunday Programme: "The computer is never, must never be allowed to substitute the teacher.

Mobile phone
Mobiles: More commonplace in schools
"We shall need in the 21st Century the best possible teachers as well as the best possible information and computer technology.

"In too many schools as yet, because the teachers don't have the expertise in using the technology, children are wasting their time."

He said he thought the children were "browsing" and "doing what we used to do in the library, you know, just copying out slabs of material without thinking about that material".

He added that although the internet has "enormous educational potential", it must be harnessed "very, very carefully".

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See also:

29 Jul 98 |  Education
Teachers back mobile phone ban
27 Aug 99 |  Education
Primary schools getting connected
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