Mobile Phone Policy - Changes
Mobile phone usage at Hazel Grove High School - Changes from September
In a follow up to my previous newsletter I write with further changes to the school mobile phone policy that may affect your child.
For many years we have been a school which openly allows students to use phones during social times and we remain one of the very few schools left in Stockport that permits this.
Sadly, due to increasing safeguarding guidance from the Local Authority and the Department of Education, I am writing to inform you that from September 1st of the next academic year students will no longer be able to use mobile devices during the social times of school.
I must impress that we have done extensive research into the use of phones and policies at other schools, and whilst there are a small number of students that repeatedly check phones during lessons, the vast majority of our student body are sensible and responsible users.
However, having said that, we have had to accept there is a growing psychological connection between a young person and their phone and furthermore that there are growing safety concerns which affect young people, including GPS location tracking apps, social media content, sexting and cyber-bulling. Whilst these incidents are very rare at our school, as the Head Teacher I am responsible for safeguarding the activities that our students are engaged in throughout the school day. I have absolute trust and confidence in our student body to be responsible phone users but sadly, I do not have the same trust in the cyber-communities which many of them belong to, and we cannot give parents/carers the same assurances of close supervision of phone usage in school, as I am sure happens at home.
Our decision comes after many months of discussion with Governors, students, staff and parents/carers and throughout the year, up until the end of this term, we have been reviewing the local situation. I am aware that some parents/carers arrange to contact their son/daughter regularly throughout the school day and that SMS or WhatsApp are very quick ways to check during your working day on a number of questions e.g. if they got to school okay, are feeling better after maybe a queasy morning, checking how an exam went and general well-meaning parent/carer to child conversations. Our blanket ban on phones during social times will of course mean that students won’t be picking up these messages until the end of the school day – whereupon they will be allowed to use their phones.
From September we are changing our internal phone system so that it is easier for parents/carers to leave messages with the school. Multiple new phones lines into the reception desk will mean that if you do need a message to get to your child that this should be much easier to do so. Similarly, on the back of the parent forum request we are leaving our phone lines open to 5pm each evening so that parents/carers can get in touch with us over school related issues.
Feeling secure in school
Some students feel secure in school due to the fact they can contact their parents/carers as and when they need to. If this describes your child then please get in touch with us to discuss how we can work together to ensure the new policy is adhered to, whilst still allowing your child to feel secure in the knowledge that they can check-in with parents/carers when they feel they need to.
Children will be allowed to use their phone in an emergency, (i.e. 999, contact parents/carers re school closure, serious incident); however, from September we do not expect to see any mobile phone in use during any part of the school day whilst on school premises.
I hope that whilst there may be some immediate concern, that the vast majority of parents/carers will support the school’s direction in its safeguarding agenda to do all it can to protect your child.
Can I thank you for your support with the rationale behind the decision and ask you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns or questions or indeed support the step taken?
Sports Day is rearranged for this coming Friday 14th July. All students may arrive in their PE kit if they choose to. We hope for dry weather for the remainder of the week.
Non Uniform Week
Students may choose to wear non-uniform all week next week from Monday to Friday inclusive. There is a voluntary donation of £1 on Parent Pay to raise funds for the Bradley Lowery Charity, funding further research in Neuroblastoma. This charity has been chosen by girls in Year 8 and we hope parents/carers will support this worthwhile cause.
Final Day of Term / First Day Back
The school year closes next Friday 21st July at the earlier time of 1:15pm. The first day back for students is Wednesday 6th September 2017. All students are to return in the usual school uniform of blazer, tie and blue shirt at the time of the usual school day start time of 8:45am.