Scotland’s newest and most technologically advanced secondary school will enforce an outright ban on mobile phones in school time to encourage a “social media detox” amongst pupils.
Bertha Park High has revealed its strict policy on the use of smartphones during lesson times.
Head teacher Stuart Clyde has ordered that all pupils’ phones should be stored away in lockers from the start of the school day until the final bell.
“This is not negotiable,” parents have been told.
The school hopes the move will encourage more face-to-face interaction with pupils during intervals and lunchtimes and “cut down on unhealthy screen time”.
It is the first state school in the region to take a tough stance on phone use.
Details of the policy were released as developers put the final touches to the £32.5 million school building.
New images show the secondary has been given a striking, street art vibe with walls and corridors covered in colourful murals.
Bertha Park, which earlier this year announced a partnership with US tech giant Microsoft, will open its doors in just over a month’s time.
Two weeks ago, The Courier revealed each pupil will get their own iPad to help with lessons and homework. Perth and Kinross Council will be in control of what apps are installed on the devices.
Another landmark day. We’re in! Today we took over the keys to our beautiful new school from @RobertsonGroup It’s looking just spectacular. What a fabulous learning space @NORR_Int & @RobertsonGroup have created for us. We’re thrilled! @PerthandKinross @hubEastCentral pic.twitter.com/03eKfBFzjt
— Bertha Park High School (@BerthaParkHigh) July 15, 2019
In a message to parents, a school spokesman said: “Some schools encourage pupils to bring phones with them to school as they can be utilised for learning.
“However, with a school iPad and access to the internet, there is no need for our pupils’ phones to be used in this way. We think the pupils will learn better without constant access to their phones.”
He said the phones will be locked away until 3.40pm. “There is significant support amongst parents and teachers for a social media detox,” he said. “Access to social media can be a serious distraction and become a source of antisocial and undesirable conduct.
“The pressure many young people feel from social media can contribute to mental ill-health and is not helpful in a learning environment.”
The spokesman added that phone calls and texts home from young people “experiencing challenges” in school can be unnecessarily alarming for parents.
Arrangements will be made for children to contact home via the school office, and vice versa.
Parents are told: “Please ensure that all pupils are aware of this most basic arrangement. It is not negotiable and is just part of the way our school will operate.”
Glenamond College in Perthshire announced in March that it would introduce a ban on mobiles. A similar rule was earlier introduced at Kilgraston in Bridge of Earn.
However, Morrison’s Academy in Crieff actively encourages pupils to use their phones. Bosses say allowing pupils to access smart technology encourages curiosity and critical thinking.