JFS bans mobile phones in interest of the ‘mental health’ of students

JFS bans mobile phones in interest of the ‘mental health’ of students

Rachel Fink sends letter to parents explaining why the school has taken the unprecedented step of stopping pupils using mobile devices

An iPhone
An iPhone

JFS has banned the use of mobile phones in the interest of the “mental health and well-being of children.”

Following her appointment as new head of Europe’s largest Jewish secondary school, Rachel Fink sent a letter to parents explaining the decision this week.

This comes after a year-and-a-half from the school’s decision to permit some use of phones for educational purposes, which the letter says “had a detrimental impact on the overall learning environment of our school”.

“Whilst we acknowledge the positive impact that technology can bring to society and specifically to learning environments we are also aware of the deep and long lasting effects of the excessive use of mobile devices can have” on students.

She continues: “Mobile phones and other devices are a distraction to learning and are not needed within school”.

Fink’s “aspiration would be to ban all mobile phones and other devices from the school campus for all students in years 7-11”, while she recognises that some students need them for travelling or communication outside of school hours.

Students are told phones “must be switched off and safely stored in students’ lockers upon arrival” , and “should not be kept with students in blazer pockets or bags”, with a set of sanctions to penalise rule-breakers.

Should students be found with phones, penalties include confiscation, with harsher consequences including permanent exclusion or the involvement of Police, should “bullying, harassing or intimidating [of] staff or students” be done through mobile usage.

The new policy was rolled out on 2 July, and the school says it will be “strictly enforced”, while the headteacher asks for “the support of all parents in assisting your children with this transition”.

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