School reduces cyber bullying after mobile phone ban
27 November 2012
Schools regulator Ofsted has commented on the success of tackling cyber bullying at a school after it banned mobile phones on its campus.
Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester repotedly banned the use of mobile phones on the campus site after text messages had been used by some children to conduct cyber bullying. Others were said to have caused disruption in lessons.
Ian Fenn, the college head teacher, was quoted in newspapers as saying that youngeters were using the BlackBerry messaging service in class and sending each other jokes.
"We tried telling pupils they couldn't use them in lessons but it didn't work because it was too much of a grey area," he said.
"When we banned them completely from the school grounds, we weren't sure how it would be received, but the effect has been dramatic.
"I don't think there's any other initiative in the last 12 years I've seen that has had the same impact. Apart from getting the best teachers we can, I think it's the most important thing we have done for pupils to improve learning."
Ofsted noted the impact of the measure in its latest report. It said: "Inspectors noted, and students agree, that the college's ban on mobile phones has contributed to a reduction in opportunities for cyber bullying in and around the college, or disruption in classes."
In May the regulator's chief Sir Michael Wilshaw
called for a crackdown on mobile phones in schools to help improve classroom discipline, prevent access to pornography, and tackle cyber bullying.
He warned that from September 2012 schools could be penalised for failing to tackle "low-disruption" in lessons, and that they could be marked down for pupils using their phones to text, call or browse the internet.
But others have argued mobile devices can be used to enhance learning in schools