Culture Secretary encourages ban on mobile phones in…

There has been a move to ban phones from schools in France

The chief inspector of Ofsted is backing head teachers who ban mobile phones to prevent bad behaviour.

In her keynote speech to the Festival of Education, Amanda Spielman will explain how Ofsted's new inspection framework, which comes into force next September, will have a "clearer focus on behaviour".

Headteachers across the country have just been given the nod to introduce their own local bans on smartphone use in schools, with culture secretary Matt Hancock saying he admires heads who've already risked teenage riots and an elevation in door slamming by restricting the bringing of gadgets to school. "Quite the opposite, there is nothing kind about letting a few pupils spoil school for everyone else", she is expected to say. He also asked why teens need to keep their mobile phones with them cautiously while being in school.

In her speech, Ms Spielman will say that pupil behaviour is a key concern of parents, and the first question that they want answered in an Ofsted report. The new regime will "probably" include a separate judgement focusing purely on the "behaviour and attitudes" of pupils.

Low-level disruption which gets in the way of pupils' learning will be taken as seriously as incidents such as bullying, she will pledge.

The Ofsted boss will also say that the watchdog is looking at whether schools are attempting to hide naughty students from inspectors during inspections.

"I want to address, once and for all, the constant rumours we hear about badly behaved children being hidden from inspectors, perhaps on conveniently timed school trips".

Schools already have the freedom to ban or curb the use of phones while pupils are on site, and the Department for Education claims 95 per cent of schools in England already exercise that right. "My research and analysis teams are now designing a study to assess the extent of the problem, and what we might do about it", Ms Spielman will say. Malcolm Trobe, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said mobiles were only allowed in lessons for "specific educational activities".

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the NAHT, said: "Schools get less than a day's notice of inspection, so it is extremely unlikely that a school trip for a group of unruly pupils could be organised in that time in order for the school to avoid their behaviour being scrutinised".

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