The head of a Perthshire private school has no regrets about banning mobile phones, saying it has been like going back in time.
Dorothy MacGinty, principal at Kilgraston girls’ school in Bridge of Earn, said she has already noticed improvements in social skills including eye contact and conversation since introducing the ban less than two months ago.
The 260 pupils at the school, aged between five and 18, can take phones to school and use them before entering the grounds but they must be kept in lockers during the day – even during breaks and lunchtime.
Tablet computers can be used but only when needed for classes.
Mrs MacGinty said she expected complaints, particularly from older pupils, but has no regrets about the ban.
“It has been a great success,” she said. “I was expecting a bit of backlash and for the older girls to ask for their phones, at least during lunchtime, but I’ve had no complaints.
“They girls are saying they have got to know girls in other years better and are talking more in the common room.”
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Parents have also reported that their daughters are spending less time on their phones and tablets at home.
Mrs MacGinty introduced the ban at the start of this term as she was concerned that her pupils were becoming addicted to social media and were being bombarded with idealised portrayals of women.
“I think there is almost a sense of relief because they are not constantly thinking about checking their phones for messages and constant updates,” she said.
“It’s like turning the clock back to before we had mobile phones. The teachers are all saying how nice it is to hear happy chatter in the corridor again.
“I’ve noticed their social skills are a lot better. They give proper eye contact again because they’re not constantly having conversations over the top of phones.”
The new rule at Kilgraston came at the same time as a nationwide ban was introduced in French schools, which is enforceable by law.
Mrs MacGinty said other head teachers in Perthshire are considering a similar move.
“Other teachers have said to me it was a very bold move but they’re now reviewing their own policies with a view of doing the same thing,” she said.
“I have no regrets at all and I haven’t had the negative response I was expecting.”