Head teachers across the UK should ban mobile phones in the classroom, the Culture Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock hailed those who do not allow the devices during school hours, and said more heads show “follow their lead”.
He warned that mobiles could have a “real impact” on students’ achievements, and linked social media with bullying among schoolchildren.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hancock questioned why young children needed phones at school in the first place, and said: “There are a number of schools across the country that simply don’t allow them.
“While it is up to individual schools to decide rather than government, I admire head teachers who do not allow mobiles to be used during the school day. I encourage more schools to follow their lead.”
Mr Hancock added that there was evidence to suggest banning phones in schools worked, and said “setting boundaries” was important.
He acknowledged the role of parents in teaching youngsters to use technology safely, but said schools should also play a big part.
Meanwhile, a group of Tory MPs has also urged a ban on mobiles during the school day, saying there is evidence it can have “a beneficial effect on pupils’ ability to learn”.
In a letter to the Telegraph, the seven politicians cited a 2015 study by the London School of Economics, writing: “Where schools banned smartphones from the premises, or required them to be handed in at the start of the day, pupils’ chances of getting five good GCSEs increased by an average of two per cent.
“The improvement was even more marked for lower-achieving pupils. Results among pupils in the bottom quarter of achievement improved twice as much as the average.”
The group, which included Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, urged the Department for Education to give guidance to schools about the evidence on attainment.