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17th Nov 2023

School in UK is first to force pupils to lock their phones away until the end of the day

Nina McLaughlin

A school in the UK has become the first to make its students lock away their phones

Wimbledon High School in Merton, South West London, has been praised after it became the first school to force pupils to lock away their phones until the end of the day.

They introduced the Phone Away Box system over the summer break, and it has come into full force from September.

Students must place their phones in a clear box in their lockers before turning up to morning registration, and are only allowed to retrieve them once it’s gone 4pm.

Senior deputy head, Ben Turner, says that the move has aided a redefinition of roles for students and teachers alike after Covid’s impact on education.

“School life doesn’t end at the end of the school day any more, as it did during our childhoods,” he said, per My London.

“There is loads of evidence of the impact of phones on level of interaction and on mental health.

“Children go home and continue to interact with their school friends into the small hours.

“We felt like we needed to put in some practical measures to help our students make decisions that are right for them.

“The Phone Away box is part of a broader policy of a zero tolerance approach to phones, which we have talked a lot about with our parents and students.”

Turner says that the move has been a welcome one for the independent girl’s school.

“It has been hugely welcomed by all of our community,” Turner said.

“The Phone Away boxes are for our year 7’s and 8’s and are housed in their dedicated locker room. It is a visual embodiment of that policy of zero tolerance.

“It makes it very clear from the moment you come into school what our belief around phones should be.

“The school day is for normal socialisation, education, time in the classroom and time in clubs.

“It’s not for whatever’s on my phone. That’s not important.

“Covid has blurred the lines around the roles of parents, teachers and students, especially when we lived our lives online. The Phone Away boxes are an embodiment of that reassertion of playing those different roles.”