Mobile Phone/Smart Devices
This policy was drawn up in response to technological advances, which have seen a significant increase in the number of mobile /smart devices among the school population over recent years. It replaces this school’s original Mobile Phone Policy (2003). An amended policy was put in place in 2011. A further amended policy is now being put in place (June 2019).
Rationale: Mobile phones are intrusive and distracting in a school environment. Strategies must be put in place to reduce the intrusiveness of unauthorised technology in a school situation. Mobile may be harmful due to frequent use. Mobile/smart devices have been used to conduct bullying campaigns.
Relationship to School Ethos: The use of mobile/smart devices may contravene the provision of a safe and secure school environment and is not conducive to learning - a provision which is central to the mission statement and ethos of St. Columba’s N.S. Aim: To minimize intrusions on and distractions to children’s learning. To provide a safe environment for our pupils (Child safety).
Internal School Procedures for Pupils: The following are the guidelines for mobile phone/ smart device usage in the school: Children are not allowed to use mobile phones/ smart devices during school hours. Pupils should not bring mobile phones/smart devices into school. Only with school and parents’ permission (the signed form will be held in the school office), will children be allowed bring a device on to school premises. Mobile phones/smart devices should be switched off on entering school grounds. They will be collected by the class teacher each morning and returned before dismissal time in the afternoon. They should not be switched on until children have left the school premises, including the school yard. Children who need to contact home during school hours and parents who need to get a message to their children, may do so through the school secretary using the school landline phone. Mobile phones/smart devices are banned, even during after school activities. The school will not accept responsibility for the loss of or damage to mobile phones/ smart devices if brought on to school premises. Any pupil who brings a mobile phone/smart device (without written permission) to school, risks having it confiscated and not returned until the school day is over. The confiscated item will be returned to the pupil’s parent by the principal.
School Procedures for Staff
Mindful of the duties and responsibilities assigned to all staff when working with children, it is vital that all staff be engaged with pupils without distraction during the school day. In this context, access to personal mobile phones/smart devices should be limited to urgent use only. Staff have access to the school landline if telephone contact needs to be made with parents/guardians or to arrange class outings/ tours, etc. Calls to parents/guardians should be kept as short as possible. Where a lengthy conversation is required, an appointment should be made for a face-to-face meeting with parents. Classroom supervision is arranged if a class teacher has to phone other professionals or outside agencies in relation to a particular child during the school day. Staff personal calls are normally confined to break times.
Roles and Responsibilities: All members of staff share in the co-ordination and implementation of this policy.