Banning pupils from using mobile phones at a high school a year ago has made a “massive difference” and even helped improve exam results.
Ann Webb, the headteacher at Ysgol John Bright, in Llandudno, said the pupils were now much more sociable while they were in school and concentrated better in lessons.
The strict rule applies at any time during the school day, even during breaks or at lunchtime.
If any pupil is caught using a mobile phone anywhere on the campus it is confiscated until the end of the school day.
The parent or carer is contacted if it keeps happening and the phone will not be returned until they come in to pick it up.
At the same time, Mrs Webb has also strengthened the school’s well-being and behaviour team which now includes 10 members of staff.
According to Mrs Webb, the introduction of the ban played a part in helping the students to attain better GCSE and A level results this summer.
The GCSE pupils achieved a 10 per cent improvement on last year’s results with nearly a quarter of them getting five A star or A grades.
It was a similar story at A level with 79 per cent of students gaining A star to C grades at A-level with 62 per cent getting at least one A and 11 per cent three As.
Mrs Webb said: “We have a team of staff outside the entrance, to the school in the morning, all very visible and all children are required to switch their phones off and put it into their bags.
“The rest of our staff are out on corridors in the morning talking to students, talking to each other and just making sure that rule is enforced.
“To be fair once we’ve got this rule established it is just not an issue during the school day at all. You will not see a student with a mobile phone.
“Banning the use of mobile phones in the school at all times during the school day has made a massive difference.
“I can’t envisage us ever going back to allowing the pupils to bring out their mobile phones now.
“It has certainly improved the atmosphere at the school because the pupils are more sociable.
“Because they’re not glued to their phones when they arrive at school, they have to engage in social communication and when they go to the library they’re looking at books instead of their phones or they’re discussing things with their peers.
“It’s also made a difference to engagement in lessons because the phones are not available as a distraction.
“I genuinely think the pupils have welcomed the break from social media and, because the situation is clear cut, everybody complies. It’s a black and white rule that’s applied consistently.
“The only exception is the sixth form who have the privilege of being able to use their mobile phones in their social areas and we ask staff not to use phones in the presence of students.”
The ban has been backed to the hilt by the school governors who were pleased to see the positive impact it’s had.
Chair Carla Forfar said: “It’s probably no accident that we’ve had some cracking results this summer, both at A level and GCSE.
“This is all about raising the standards of the school universally and there is research out there that suggests that schools that do ban mobile phones have an uplift in performance because students are more engaged and concentrating in lessons and learning.
“The ban is just one part of a comprehensive improvement strategy around standards of behaviour.
“As part the strategy, the leadership team has been strengthened and the headteacher is developing managers within the school, while a number of staff have been given the opportunity to go on an outstanding teacher programme.
“Although mobile phones are banned, Ysgol John Bright uses the very best technology to assist learning.
“For example, all our staff and students have access to the Google suite of software which is all cloud-based, and it means that students can access work at school or at home. “Teachers can have virtual classrooms where they can put all students’ work so they can access it at home as well.
“It means that we’re less paper-based, but it also means that not having mobile phones is not an issue at all because we’ve got such a strong infrastructure of technology in the school.”