A MOBILE phone ban was introduced at a Borders school this week to ensure that pupils concentrate in class.

From Tuesday, February 20, a new policy came into force at Galashiels Academy which states that: “Mobile phones should not be seen or heard in the school building.”

Pupils are now only allowed to access their devices outside during break times.

A power presentation outlining the changes was presented to pupils before the February break.

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It’s hoped the move to become “a mobile phone free building” will help reduce online bullying and disruption in the classroom, as well as improve teaching and pupils’ mental health.

Letters have been sent to parents and carers explaining the move and children can still take their phones to school but they must be kept in their bags and switched off while inside.

A school statement says: “Schools that have banned phones report young people feel safer and happier; reduce cyber bullying by cutting screen time.

“Socialising with peers is relaxing and good for your mental and emotional well-being.”

Of the pupils who responded to a survey, 74 of the 184 pupils said they didn’t understand the reasons the school was introducing the new policy, while only 57 said they did.

The majority said they used their devices for contacting parents or carers, checking their timetable and messaging friends, while a small number admitted they also used them for playing games.

The National:

The presentation given to pupils goes on: “We appreciate that this is not a popular decision but hope you all understand the reasons why we are introducing this policy.

“Families are very supportive of this measure. The number of mobile phone de-merits issued over the last five months (was) 1,068.

“This is a transitional period so staff will support pupils, as we appreciate it is difficult to break long held habits.”

Acting headteacher Pauline Anderson added: “The next few weeks are very busy, especially for our senior students working on SQA assignments and preparing for SQA exams.”