College leads the way in phone use
After extensive consultation with our College community, the College trialed its new cell phone policy with the Year 9 and 10 students in November 2022 until the end of year. We then implemented the policy to the whole College for the start of the school year 2023.
As a College, the results have been incredibly positive. Anecdotally, cell phones are now generally a non-issue in class, and if they are, there is a simple system for staff to confiscate them, and they become the responsibility of the House Leaders.
We have similar outcomes at lunch and morning intervals, where cell phones, on the whole, are not seen around the school. A crucial part of making this policy successful is having a simple system for staff to follow and removing the responsibility for individual staff to hold and return the phones. They are brought to and held centrally and securely for handback at the end of the day once confiscated.
As a bus school and not a zoned school, we have a large number of students coming from considerable distances across Wellington, so we opted to ensure that the school never held phones overnight and that students always had them returned at the end of the day to communicate with families as they commuted, even if they have had multiple confiscations.
In Term One, we had 227 confiscations, considering we have 714 students attending daily for 47 days of the term, leaving a possible 34,000. The students are responding well to the policy. Coincidentally, we have had 225 confiscations in Term Two also. So far this year, 261 students have had their phones confiscated, so roughly 35% of the College.
The College will continue to monitor the statistics coming through.