Cummins Area School implements no-phone policy

MOBILES: Cummins Area School principal Mel Degner and year 12 student Seth Dobbins demonstrate the new no-phone policy at the school.
MOBILES: Cummins Area School principal Mel Degner and year 12 student Seth Dobbins demonstrate the new no-phone policy at the school.

Cummins Area School's new no-phone policy is addressing concentration problems, cyber bullying and the sharing of inappropriate material.

The policy makes students surrender their mobile phones in home group each morning and is returned each day after the bell.

Staff have also adopted the policy to role model the behaviour.

Principal Mel Degner said the school first discussed the idea at the end of term three last year to address mobile phone use issues.

Since the policy was implemented there has been a drastic positive shift in behaviour at the school.

"I'm really confident it has been a good decision...students have said 'I didn't realise how much I used it'," Ms Degner said.

"In theory they knew not to go on their phone, but in practice the students said it was overwhelming and they needed help to put them down."

She said it was encouraging to see students having conversations with each other during breaks that did not revolve around their phones. 

"We are aware it's an educators role and responsibility to keep our students safe and we would never want anyone to think we were shifting the issue off," she said.

"This year, we have not had to deal with cyber bullying yet and behaviour issues around phones have lessened."

Mrs Degner said some parents were concerned they would not be able to contact their children if anything was timely or urgent parents were always able to contact the school.

She said the feedback from parents was that they were happy with the policy.

Regional education director Rowena Fox said the school was the only one she was aware of that had adopted the policy, but it was likely more would follow.

"Students have reported that they feel less pressured as a result of not checking phones during the day," Ms Fox said.

She said mobile phones were often a distraction to learning and differences in things like data allowances and phone types had the potential to create a divide between students.

"Certainly by limiting phone use there is less opportunity to share inappropriate material, and potentially send or transmit hurtful messages to each other."