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The Herald-Sun reports today that schools are gearing up for the statewide ban on mobile phones, due to be implemented next year. PV has voiced concerns about the ban, and our Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in this article.

The government has allocated a $12.4 million budget for the implementation of the ban, and many schools have accessed a share of that funding to upgrade or buy lockers to store students’ phones. Some schools have already implemented the ban and others are developing their own policies for 2020.

Education Minister James Merlino said, “The phone ban will help reduce distraction, tackle cyber bullying and improve outcomes for all students.”

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy commented, “Parents Victoria has expressed concern from the outset regarding the ban implementation and enforcement. The cost of administering the ban, where that $12.4m investment in storage could be better used for supporting students in their learning,” she said.

She said if teachers were spending time at the beginning and end of the day to manage phones, or when they’re permitted to be in class, it has the potential to cause learning disruption.

“PV concerns remain when there is non compliance of the ban, the impact of the ban, how the enforcement and regulation of the policy delegated to teachers and principals to manage when they’re already feeling under pressure by the existing workloads and expectations,” she said.

She said it appeared to be left to schools to determine and implement their own requirements.

“It won’t necessarily be lockers in primary schools, it could be an array of things but regardless the collection and distribution will be interesting to see how that all plays out re staffing/co-ordination for those who do bring or hand their phones in,” she said.

She said parents will hopefully discourage their children from taking mobile phones to primary school which would free teachers up from having to manage them.

Radio interview

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy was also interviewed by Neil Mitchell on 3AW this morning. You can hear the interview on Neil Mitchell's podcast page - select the "whole show" podcast for Tues 3 December and advance to 1 hour 37 minutes.