Search icon


22nd Apr 2024

Head teacher introduces 12-hour school day to tackle smartphone addiction

Charlie Herbert

Head teacher introduces 12-hour school day to tackle smartphone addiction

‘Some children are so apathetic – they don’t care about anything, they’re buried in their phones’

A head teacher has revealed plans for a 12-hour school day to try and break “a 100 per cent phone addiction” among his pupils.

Andrew O’Neill is the head at All Saints Catholic College in Notting Hill, an ‘outstanding’ school attended by children aged 11 to 16.

The head wants students to turn up to school at 7am and leave 7pm, encouraging them to take part in sports, art and cooking classes instead of spending time on devices at home.

Speaking to the Times, O’Neill said that smartphones are creating an “apathetic” generation.

He told the publication that he had found “some of the most shocking things I have ever seen” on confiscated phones. This included pupils blackmailing strangers and catfishing each other.

The 43-year-old also said pupils have been falling victim to online crime, including cyberbullying and sexting.

Since 2016, children at the school have been banned from carrying phones but can keep the devices in their bags or lockers.

O’Neill said smartphones were affecting the social lives of children, who he claims are getting worse at making friends, making eye contact with people and holding conversations.

He said: “We have a long-term issue we need to solve. If we don’t we will have a generational problem with workplaces and society.

“Some children are so apathetic. They don’t care about anything. They are buried in their phones.”

O’Neill said that whilst his three kids do have smartphones, they are only for tracking their location and the devices don’t have any social media apps installed.

He added that parents who don’t keep their children safe online should be reported to social services or prosecuted.

Related links:

Primary school teacher fired for teaching students to do TikTok dances

Teacher fired for ‘refusing to use transgender student’s chosen pronouns’

School bullies end up earning more money in middle age, study finds