National will ban cell phone use at school
National will ban cell phone use at school to help lift achievement and support every child to make the most out of their education.
To turn around falling achievement, students need to focus on their schoolwork during their precious classroom time. That means doing what we can to eliminate unnecessary disturbances and distractions.
Many schools here and overseas have experienced positive outcomes, including improved achievement, after banning the use of cell phones.
We want teachers to be able to get on with teaching and students to concentrate on learning. Student achievement has declined over the past three decades, jeopardising kids’ future livelihoods and threatening New Zealand’s future prosperity.
Without a world-class education system, we cannot expect to have world-class incomes.
While we once ranked in the top ten OECD nations in maths, science, and reading, we have fallen outside the top ten in all three core subjects.
More than half of Year 8 students are behind expectations in maths, science and writing according to the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement.
This policy will support National’s Teaching the Basics Brilliantly plan, to focus schools on the basics, including a minimum of one hour each of reading, writing, and maths every day.
Students only have one shot at their school years, and we want to help them make the most of their valuable class time.
Many schools and parents are concerned about the use of devices and research indicates there are health and social benefits to reducing screen time and encouraging students to interact with each other during their breaks.
That is why our policy will apply throughout the whole school day. The presumption is phones will be off and away all day.
Schools will be able to decide exactly how they enforce it, but it could mean requiring students to hand in their phones before school or leave them in their lockers or bags.
Parents can contact students via the school office, and exceptions for students with health conditions or special circumstances will be permitted.
Education should be the great enabler that means every New Zealand child can pursue their aspirations regardless of where they start in life.
However, when half of Year 10 students cannot meet basic reading and writing benchmarks needed to succeed in further learning, work and life, we are failing to set every child up to succeed.
National will take practical steps to ensure school is a positive environment where young New Zealanders can focus on what matters most.