A FLINTSHIRE high school has thanked students, parents and staff for their support following the introduction of a mobile phone policy.

As part of Ysgol Treffynnon’s strategy to raise standards at the school, the new policy means that the school is now a ‘mobile free zone’ where mobile phones should not be seen or heard at any time during the school day.

On arrival at the school site, mobile phones and other gadgets, as well as earphones, or headphones must be switched off or on silent and placed in school bags not to be removed until students leave the school site at the end of the day.

Mobile phones cannot be used as calculators, cameras, timetables, homework or in order to check the time during the school day.

If a student does not comply with this rule their phone will be confiscated and only returned after contact has been made with parents or carers.

Exceptions apply for students requiring mobile phones for medical needs such as monitoring blood sugar levels.

In these cases, their use is restricted to pre-agreed essential medical purposes.

The policy also extends to all members of staff who must not use their mobile phones in public spaces and classrooms.

The only exceptions are for caretaking staff, who need to remain contactable by contractors and external service personnel throughout the school day, and PE staff, who need to take registers and potentially report any injury issues while on the school field.

The governors and school leadership team held a consultation period on the draft policy earlier in the year giving parents, staff and governors the opportunity to comment before its’ launch at the start of the new academic year.

John Weir, headteacher, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the hugely positive response we have received to the policy by all members of the school community. The difference in students’ behaviour is palpable, they are much happier and are enjoying real life interaction with their friends.

“At Ysgol Treffynnon we are committed to high expectations which support and encourage all students to maximise their potential. Mobile phones and other personal gadgets can distract from this and have a detrimental effect on students’ ability to concentrate in class and throughout the day.

“This policy is also helping to minimise the potential risks of cyber bullying as students do not have access to social media throughout the day. In turn, this contributes to improved mental health and wellbeing, which we are already noticing. We have only had a couple of incidents, early on in the term, when students did not comply to the rule and we had to confiscate their phones which, considering the significance of the policy, is remarkably few.”

Mr Weir says lessons are getting underway quicker and that the overall atmosphere at the school has improved.