Mobile phone ban in public schools 

STUDENTS in public high schools across NSW must have their mobile phones turned off and out of sight, as the Minns Labor Government delivers its commitment to ban students’ use of phones at school from the start of Term 4.

The ban comes into force after consultation with teachers, students and parents, and will apply during class, recess and at lunch. Students will still be permitted to carry a
phone while travelling to and from school.

The ban on use of phones in public high schools fulfils a key election promise made by the Minns Labor Government and will complement the ban in place in NSW public primary schools.

The ban is one of a number of measures the Government is putting in place to improve the classroom environment and student outcomes.

The NSW Department of Education offered schools several options for implementing the mobile phone ban, and following consultation with their local communities most have opted for zero or low-cost solutions, such as keeping phones in lockers or off and away.

Options for schools include:

• Off and away: Phones are ‘off and away’ in classrooms (typically kept in the student’s school bag). Phones are not used for the duration of the school day.

• Phones in lockers: Students do not carry the phones with them; they must be kept in a locker for the whole school day.

• Locked phone pouch: Students place their phone in a magnetically locked pouch and are unable to use their phone. Pouches are magnetically unlocked at the end of the school

• Phones collected at the front office: Students deposit their phone at the school’s front office at the start of the school day and collect it at the day’s end (or when leaving the school premises). 

Schools will determine how they enforce the ban and respond to any breaches.

Principals and teachers can authorise the use of mobile phones for educational purposes, or as part of a reasonable adjustment for student learning and wellbeing – such as monitoring blood sugar levels for students with diabetes.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said the Minns Labor Government committed at the election to ensure NSW students are not distracted by mobile phones at school.

“I am proud that (this week) that our commitment comes into effect,” she said. 

“Phones in all NSW public high schools must be turned off and out of sight during the school day – including at recess and lunch.

“This ban creates a level playing field across all NSW public schools, and means students can focus on what’s most important – learning in the classroom.

“It will help to provide more productive classrooms for students and teachers, reducing opportunities for distraction and cyberbullying.

“What we’ve heard from schools that already have bans in place gives me real confidence that this common sense measure will improve student learning and social development outcomes.”