Robin Walker MP has said the inquiry into the effects of screen time on children will continue after government ministers published guidance on a ban on mobile phones in school.

The government, as part of a plan to "minimise disruption and improve behaviour in classrooms", is aiming to "reset the social norm that there is no place for mobile phones in our schools all the way through the school day," according to education secretary Gillian Keegan, BBC News reports.

Mrs Keegan acknowledged that currently there's a mixed picture on policy, with some schools allowing the use of mobiles during break times, while others enforce an outright ban.


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The government's guidance offers examples of how to create a phone-free environment during the school day.

These include a total ban on phones on school premises or having students hand in their phones at the beginning of the day.

It also suggests that schools could allow students to keep their phones but "only on the strict condition that they are never used, seen, or heard" during the day.

The guidance reminds headteachers that they can search students for items banned under school rules and that they have legal protection from being sued over loss or damage to confiscated items.

Commenting on the new guidance, Mr Walker, who is the chair of the education select committee, said, "Throughout our inquiry into screen time, the Committee has heard evidence that a ban on mobile phones in schools will be a welcome and necessary step.

"Many schools already ban the use of phones in the classroom or throughout the school day, knowing that they can cause distraction and harm concentration.

"The new guidance from the Government will support school leaders who wish to adopt a policy prohibiting the use of mobile phones."

The Worcester MP added: “The committee will continue its inquiry on screen time with an evidence session on online harms and the effectiveness of the Online Safety Act. We also look forward to discussing the new policy on mobile phones at the session, with witnesses including the children’s commissioner and experts from the National Police Chiefs Councils, Barnardo’s and the UK Safer Internet Centre.”