THE Welsh Government has highlighted the benefits mobile phones can have in the classroom after the UK education secretary called for an outright ban on their use in schools.

Gavin Williamson has backed schools which “tackle the scourge of ever-present mobile phones” and maintain quiet corridors.

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced further details of its £10 million “behaviour hub” programme, which will start this summer term.

Mr Williamson said: “Behaviour and discipline are the cornerstone to so much of what defines this country’s most successful schools.

“Whether it’s supporting some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children with the routines and structures needed to help them fulfil their potential, or helping prepare young people for the expectations of the workplace, parents and teachers know that orderly and disciplined classrooms are best.

“That is why I will always support schools taking a firm approach; for example, taking action to tackle the scourge of ever-present mobile phones – because I know the positive impact it will have on students’ wellbeing and attainment.”


However, a Welsh Government spokesperson said that teachers already have the power to restrict the use of phones.

"We recognise that, where managed properly, phones can be used effectively in classrooms as learning tool," they said. "When setting their mobile phone policies, schools should consider the effect mobiles could have on learning and pupil wellbeing.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Williamson conceded that technology had been "invaluable keeping children learning during lockdowns" but decided that now was the time to "put the screens away, especially mobile phones.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “The feedback we’ve been receiving from our members is that the Education Secretary has not done his homework on the issue of behaviour in the classroom.

“Quite contrary to what Mr Williamson has said, heads are reporting a sense of calm and co-operation from students that is deeply impressive. Young people are relaxed and pleased to be back at school and, most importantly, behaviour has never been better.

“There are much bigger fish needing to be fried by the Government.”

He added that most heads already expect phones to be out of sight throughout the day and “won’t appreciate government lectures on the issue”.