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Opinion split over banning smartphones in the classroom

By Gary Crossing

Teachers, parents and pupils are divided over whether smartphones should be allowed to be used at school, according to the results of three polls.

Exactly half of teachers and school leaders questioned by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) survey said they thought students should be banned from bringing their smartphones into the classroom.

The same question, posed by children’s newspaper First News, found that 44% of school children were against the use of phones in class.

Some 47% of parents who responded, told parenting website Mumsnet that they would ban smartphones at school.

Opponents of smartphones blame the devices for distracting pupils, encouraging sexting and cyberbullying as well allowing them to access pornography.

Peter Twining, professor of the future of education at the Open University, said that instead of banning smartphones, schools should include them in lessons.

'Schools can’t afford all the [technological] kit they need; it seems bonkers not to take advantage of the fact that young people have this technology in their pockets that they could use for educational purposes,' he said.

The poll was completed by 700 teachers and school leaders, 1,607 First News readers, and 1,057 Mumsnet users.

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Photo by Gavin Whitner