The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form College. Inspiring Learners for their future. Mobile Phone Policy

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1 The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form College Inspiring Learners for their future Mobile Phone Policy Updated September 2016

2 Consultation History Governors/staff/parents/students Date Executive (Leadership Group) September 2016 Students Committee October 2016 Full Governing Body October 2016 Next Review of Policy 19 th August 2018

3 The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form College Mobile Phone Policy 1. Rationale Mobile phones and other personal devices such as tablets, smart watches, e readers, electronic dictionaries, digital cameras and laptops are considered to be an everyday item in today s society and as a valuable tool to aid learning. Mobile phones and personal devices can be used to communicate in a variety of ways with texting, cameras, voice recording and internet accesses all common features. However, mobile phones and personal devices can present a number of problems when not used appropriately: They can undermine classroom discipline and disrupt learning; They are valuable items which may be stolen or damaged; Their use can render children or staff subject to online (cyber)bullying; Internet access on phones and personal devices can allow children to bypass security settings and filtering; Mobile phones and devices with integrated cameras and other recording systems could lead to child protection, sexting, bullying and data protection issues with regard to inappropriate capture, use or distribution of images of children or staff (see Child protection policy and anti bullying policy). There is a need therefore to set clear guidelines and limit their use during the school day, in particular, to avoid unnecessary interference with teaching and learning and to ensure the safety and well being of all students is not affected. 2. Expectations for Safe Use of Personal Devices and Mobile Phones Electronic devices of all kinds that are brought in to school are the responsibility of the user at all times. The school accepts no responsibility for the loss, theft or damage of such items. Nor will the school accept responsibility for any adverse health effects caused by any such devices either potential or actual. Mobile phones and personal devices are not permitted to be seen or used in certain areas within the school site such as changing rooms, toilets and swimming pools. Appropriate sanctions will be issued including confiscation of phones. The sending of abusive or inappropriate messages or content via mobile phones or personal devices is forbidden by any member of the school community and any breaches will be dealt with as part of the school discipline/behaviour policy. All members of the school community will be advised to take steps to protect their mobile phones or devices from loss, theft or damage. All members of the school community will be advised to use passwords/pin numbers to

4 ensure that unauthorised calls or actions cannot be made on their phones or devices if they are lost or stolen. Passwords and pin numbers should be kept confidential. Mobile phones and personal devices should not be shared. All members of the school community will be advised to ensure that their mobile phones and persona devices do not contain any content which may be considered to be offensive, derogatory or would otherwise contravene the school s policy. School mobile phones and devices must always be used by staff and students in accordance with the schools Acceptable Use Policy. 3. Children s Use of Personal Devices and Mobile Phones All use of mobile phones and personal devices by children will take place in accordance with the school acceptable use policy. Mobile phones and personal devices will be switched off or on silent and kept out of sight during classroom lessons and whilst moving between lessons. A C2 will be issued for infringement of this rule whilst moving between lessons. A C3 will be issued for use in lessons without permission and phone confiscated. Repeated infringements will lead to escalated consequences. Mobile phones and personal devices can be used at break and lunchtimes in accordance with the acceptable use guidelines. Mobile phones or personal devices will not be used by students during lessons or formal school time unless as part of an approved and directed curriculum based activity with consent from a member of staff. The use of personal mobile phones or devices for a specific education purpose does not mean that blanket use is permitted. If students are unwell they should report to the Key Stage Office so that we can contact parents and record if a student needs to go home. Students should not contact home themselves to arrange to go home. This is very important for safeguarding reasons and ensures the safety of all our students. Parents are advised not to contact their child during teaching and transition hours but if an emergency arises during these hours, can contact the school office. The camera function (available on most mobile phones) must not be used unless specifically directed by a teacher for educational purpose as it does not comply with the guidelines of this policy and use of the camera may breach the use of images legislation. Students should protect their phone numbers by only giving them to trusted friends and family members. Students will be instructed in safe and appropriate use of mobile phones and personal devices and will be made aware of boundaries and consequences. Phones and devices must not be taken into examinations. Students found in possession of a mobile phone during an exam will be reported to the appropriate examining body. This may result in the student s withdrawal from either that examination or all examinations. If a student breaches the school policy then the phone or device may be confiscated and will be held in a secure place in a school office. Mobile phones and devices will be released to parents/carers in accordance with the school policy.

5 School staff may confiscate a student s mobile phone or device if they believe it is being used to contravene the school s behaviour or anti bullying policy. If the device is suspected to contain inappropriate or malicious content it may be searched by a member of the Senior Leadership Team or designated staff. If the student refuses to comply (eg providing access) the device will be confiscated and parents required to come into school to provide access or in cases where criminal or harmful material are suspected the device will be handed over to the police for further investigation. (See DFE Guidance Searching, screening and confiscation and on Page 9 within this policy) Students use of Mobile Phones Time of day Phones and Accessories With Teachers permission visible or in use After entering school gates X P1 X Movement between lessons X P2 X Break P3 X Movement between lessons X P4 X Mentoring X Lunch Movement to P5 X P5 X Leaving School (not in bus ques) 4. Cyberbullying through Mobile Phones Cyberbullying can be defined as The use of Information Communication Technology, particularly mobile phones and the internet to deliberately hurt or upset someone DCSF 2007 It is essential that young people, school staff and parents and carers understand how cyberbullying is different from other forms of bullying, how it can affect people and how to respond and combat misuse. Promoting a culture of confident users will support innovation and safety. Cyberbullying (along with all forms of bullying) will not be tolerated in school. Full details are set out in the school s policy on anti bullying. Cyberbullying education will form part of students e safety lessons There will be clear procedures in place to support anyone affected by Cyberbullying. All incidents of cyberbullying reported to the school will be recorded in line with the school Anti Bullying Policy. The school will take steps to identify the bully, where appropriate, such as examining system logs, identifying and interviewing possible witnesses. Sanctions for those involved in Cyberbullying will follow the school Anti Bullying and Behaviour for Learning policy): The bully will be asked to remove any material deemed to be inappropriate or offensive. A service provider may be contacted to remove content. Internet access may be suspended at school for the user for a period of time.

6 Parent/carers may be informed. The Police will be contacted if a criminal offence is suspected. 5. Educational Visits We recognise that mobile phones can be useful on educational visits, but the same rules apply. If you are on a trip and the teacher is giving instructions to the travel party or you are being shown around a site, then this counts as a classroom or its equivalent. The school accepts no responsibility for replacing mobile phones that are lost, stolen or damaged whilst on school premises or on educational visits.

7 DFE Searching, screening and confiscation Advice for headteachers, school staff and governing bodies February 2014 Key points Searching School staff can search a pupil for any item if the pupil agrees.1 1 The ability to give consent may be influenced by the child s age or other factors Headteachers and staff authorised by them have a statutory power to search pupils or their possessions, without consent, where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the pupil may have a prohibited item. Prohibited items are: knives or weapons alcohol illegal drugs stolen items tobacco and cigarette papers fireworks pornographic images any article that the member of staff reasonably suspects has been, or is likely to be, used to commit an offence, or to cause personal injury to, or damage to the property of, any person (including the pupil). Headteachers and authorised staff can also search for any item banned by the school rules which has been identified in the rules as an item which may be searched for. Confiscation School staff can seize any prohibited item found as a result of a search. They can also seize any item, however found, which they consider harmful or detrimental to school discipline. Searching with consent Schools common law powers to search: School staff can search pupils with their consent for any item. Also note: Schools are not required to have formal written consent from the pupil for this sort of search it is enough for the teacher to ask the pupil to turn out his or her pockets or if the teacher can look in the pupil s bag or locker and for the pupil to agree. Schools should make clear in their school behaviour policy and in communications to parents and pupils what items are banned.

8 If a member of staff suspects a pupil has a banned item in his/her possession, they can instruct the pupil to turn out his or her pockets or bag and if the pupil refuses, the teacher can apply an appropriate punishment as set out in the school s behaviour policy. A pupil refusing to co-operate with such a search raises the same kind of issues as where a pupil refuses to stay in a detention or refuses to stop any other unacceptable behaviour when instructed by a member of staff in such circumstances, schools can apply an appropriate disciplinary penalty. Searching without consent What the law says: What can be searched for? Knives or weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs and stolen items; and Tobacco and cigarette papers, fireworks and pornographic images; and Any article that the member of staff reasonably suspects has been, or is likely to be, used to commit an offence, or to cause personal injury to, or damage to property; and Any item banned by the school rules which has been identified in the rules as an item which may be searched for. 1. Can I search? Yes, if you are a headteacher or a member of school staff and authorised by the headteacher. 2. Under what circumstances? You must be the same sex as the pupil being searched; and there must be a witness (also a staff member) and, if at all possible, they should be the same sex as the pupil being searched. There is a limited exception to this rule. You can carry out a search of a pupil of the opposite sex to you and without a witness present, but only where you reasonably believe that there is a risk that serious harm will be caused to a person if you do not conduct the search immediately and where it is not reasonably practicable to summon another member of staff. 3. When can I search? If you have reasonable grounds for suspecting that a pupil is in possession of a prohibited item. Also note: The law also says what must be done with prohibited items which are seized following a search. The requirement that the searcher is the same sex as the pupil and that a witness is present will continue to apply in nearly all searches. Where it is practicable to summon a staff member of the same sex as the pupil and a witness then the teachers wishing to conduct a search must do so.

9 4. Authorising members of staff Headteachers should decide who to authorise to use these powers. There is no requirement to provide authorisation in writing. Staff, other than security staff, can refuse to undertake a search. The law states that headteachers may not require anyone other than a member of the school security staff to undertake a search. Staff can be authorised to search for some items but not others; for example, a member of staff could be authorised to search for stolen property, but not for weapons or knives. A headteacher can require a member of the school s security staff to undertake a search. If a security guard, who is not a member of the school staff, searches a pupil, the person witnessing the search should ideally be a permanent member of the school staff, as they are more likely to know the pupil. 5. Training for school staff When designating a member of staff to undertake searches under these powers, the headteacher should consider whether the member of staff requires any additional training to enable them to carry out their responsibilities. 6. Establishing grounds for a search Teachers can only undertake a search without consent if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that a pupil may have in his or her possession a prohibited item. The teacher must decide in each particular case what constitutes reasonable grounds for suspicion. For example, they may have heard other pupils talking about the item or they might notice a pupil behaving in a way that causes them to be suspicious. In the exceptional circumstances when it is necessary to conduct a search of a pupil of the opposite sex or in the absence of a witness, the member of staff conducting the search should bear in mind that a pupil s expectation of privacy increases as they get older. The powers allow school staff to search regardless of whether the pupil is found after the search to have that item. This includes circumstances where staff suspect a pupil of having items such as illegal drugs or stolen property which are later found not to be illegal or stolen. School staff can view CCTV footage in order to make a decision as to whether to conduct a search for an item. 7. Searches for items banned by the school rules An item banned by the school rules may only be searched for under these powers if it has been identified in the school rules as an item that can be searched for. The school rules must be determined and publicised by the headteacher in accordance with section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 in maintained schools. In the case of academy schools and alternative provision academies, the

10 15. Statutory guidance for dealing with electronic devices Where the person conducting the search finds an electronic device they may examine any data or files on the device if they think there is a good reason to do so. Following an examination, if the person has decided to return the device to the owner, or to retain or dispose of it, they may erase any data or files, if they think there is a good reason to do so. The member of staff must have regard to the following guidance issued by the Secretary of State when determining what is a good reason for examining or erasing the contents of an electronic device: In determining a good reason to examine or erase the data or files the staff member must reasonably suspect that the data or file on the device in question has been, or could be, used to cause harm, to disrupt teaching or break the school rules. If inappropriate material is found on the device it is up to the teacher to decide whether they should delete that material, retain it as evidence (of a criminal offence or a breach of school discipline) or whether the material is of such seriousness that it requires the involvement of the police. Also note: Teachers should also take account of any additional guidance and procedures on the retention and disposal of items that have been put in place by the school. 16. Telling parents and dealing with complaints Schools are not required to inform parents before a search takes place or to seek their consent to search their child. There is no legal requirement to make or keep a record of a search. Schools should inform the individual pupil s parents or guardians where alcohol, illegal drugs or potentially harmful substances are found, though there is no legal requirement to do so. Complaints about screening or searching should be dealt with through the normal school complaints procedure.

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