Mobile Phone Ban 2020

The Tasmanian Government announced a “bell to bell” ban on mobile phones for students in all Tasmanian public schools up to Year 10, from the start of Term 2 2019.  (Department of Education press release.)  This follows similar announcements in other states in Australia and overseas.  Our updated mobile phone policy will mirror this, but as previously planned, will commence from the start of Term 1, 2020.

When our new students arrive in Year 7 this year, they will come from over a dozen different schools.  We want to encourage them to mix with different people and to come together as the SBSC community. In order to do this, we need to encourage ‘in-person’ social interactions.  This is not only important for our Year 7 students, but for all our students.

To coincide with the change in our mobile phone policy, we have undertaken an upgrade of the school’s central courtyard which will see a permanent stage and a variety of comfortable and engaging outdoor furniture.  With the support of the SRC, we are looking to provide music and a range of activities at lunchtime. Students already have access to sporting equipment, with the added benefit of encouraging physical activity.

What will the policy mean in a practical sense?

If a staff member sees a student in Years 7-10 with a mobile phone between the 8:40 am & 3 pm bells, it will be taken from the student, and the same procedure that has been in place for the past two years will then apply. Namely, the first time the phone is confiscated it will be returned at the end of the day and an SMS sent to parents. The second and subsequent times the phone will need to be collected from the office by a parent.

What if I need to communicate with my child during the school day?

Urgent messages can be relayed by contacting the College office on 6424 7622.  You can email your child if you have a non-urgent message. They will be able to access their phone after 3pm so you will still be able to contact them after school.

What if my child has a medical condition where their phone helps monitor their condition?

As per the Department of Education policy, exemptions will be made for students in this situation, eg diabetics.

But how will my child learn to use their phone sensibly if they’re never allowed it at school?

The ban will apply to students in Years 7-10. Given our school structure (uniform, classes, other privileges), this is an age structure that is workable. Students in Years 11-12 will, as for the past two years, not be permitted to use phones during HR or whole school assemblies. Phone use in class will be at the discretion of the teacher for seniors.

What about smartwatches, iPods etc?

Smart Watches and iPods must be in Aeroplane Mode, and the same procedure as for phones will be applied if not.

But can’t they still use messenger, snapchat etc on their laptop?

The reality is that the mobile phone ban will not eliminate problematic internet usage entirely, but it will reduce it. It is much easier for me as a teacher to monitor what students are doing on their laptops in my class, than on phones. Device usage during breaks will only be allowed in the library.

We hope that parents can appreciate that we have looked at the issues surrounding phone use thoroughly, focusing on the benefits, and we recognise that the use of social media will continue to cause problems (for everyone) and we will continue to provide education around this issue.