A Perthshire school has started teaching pupils how to tell the time on analogue clocks after discovering that pupils as old as 13 were unable to do so.
Kilgraston School, in Bridge of Earn, found that the problem was affecting exam prospects as some girls were unable to gauge how long they had left.
The problem has been blamed on a rise in mobile phone and tablet computer use, as the devices feature digital clocks.
The high-tech devices have been banned during school hours since the start of the 2018-19 school year, and pupils are now encouraged to use the classroom clocks.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Dorothy MacGinty, the school’s headteacher, said: “Pupils sit in examination rooms with analogue clocks and we have found some who struggle to understand how much longer they have left for an exam because they cannot read the clock face.
“Our head of maths, Mrs Stephanie Speed, mentioned to me that she was also becoming increasingly concerned as more senior girls who were joining the school lacked this basic skill.
“Additionally there are maths applications that need this skill. We are encouraging parents and guardians to buy watches for girls from aged five.”
She added that other traditional skills were still being taught at the £10,000-a-term school.
“Society is changing and the curriculum should change to reflect this but some skills are too important to ignore,” she said.
“For example we are still teaching pupils to read rail and bus timetables, even though it is no longer in the senior school maths syllabus, because it is important that pupils understand how to read these.
“Wouldn’t it be very sad if we got to the point where a whole generation of young people looked at Big Ben in puzzlement?”
Kilgraston School and Glenalmond College, on the edge of Perth, were the first in Scotland to outlaw phones in classrooms.
Teachers said they saw an immediate improvement in pupils’ concentration and had noticed students were talking to each other more.
Other schools have since followed suit, including Prince Charles’ alma mater Gordonstoun, and the newly-built Bertha Park high school in Perth.
Last year, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers urged Scottish ministers to consider a new law prohibiting phone use in schools.
A survey carried out by the union showed 58% of teachers said pupils were using mobile devices inappropriately, and 49% said distraction from mobile phones was one of the pupil behaviour problems causing them most concern.