Students will not be able to use their mobile phones in state schools from Term 1, 2020, a change that has been welcomed by central Victorian schools.
Education Minister James Merlino announced a ban on mobile phone use for students at all Victorian state primary and secondary schools on Wednesday.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said it was a welcome policy, because it was a real challenge to get many students away from their mobile phones.
Mr Pearce said the ban would help the school enforce its existing policy: that students' phones are off and in their bags during class.
He said the government ban was a step further most schools' policy.
Teachers found students were less distracted since BSSC implemented the no phones in class policy, but they still had to work to enforce it, Mr Pearce said.
Mr Pearce said he expected parents to be really supportive of the government phone ban, up to the point where it became their child's phone confiscated.
Managing the phone ban might be a bit challenging in BSSC's context, where many students eat lunch in Rosalind Park or the Bendigo city centre, Mr Pearce said.
But he said the effects of the phone ban could be "highly desirable".
"At school we'd like to have students using their time productively for educational purposes," Mr Pearce said.
"[And] we'd like them to be spending their time building all the social skills and capacity to communicate and relate to others that they will need later in life."
Kyneton Secondary College assistant principal Pam Macdonald said the ban would give Victorian schools consistent guidance on mobile phone use, as some schools had approached the issue differently.
Mrs Macdonald said Kyneton Secondary banned phones in class at the start of 2019 because of students' increasing dependence on them.
More students were checking their phones during class time while they were meant to be working, which led to the rule's introduction, she said.
Mrs Macdonald said the ban on all school day phone use was a way of improving students' sense that school time was learning time, as well as reducing social media use, and the problems that could be associated with that.
"A lot of [students] are not able to regulate their use of them without some clear rules," she said.
"There's a lot of kids that are quite responsible and can do the right thing and can have a mobile phone with all of its benefits, without any hassle, but there's a lot that don't manage it very well, because they're all interested in what's going on with their peers.
"Banning them in class time... it improves their learning time that's for certain."
Crusoe College principal Brad Madden said the mobile phone ban was in line with the school's existing policy, but took it a bit further.
He said the school decided students could not bring their phones to class at the start of 2019.
"We've certainly seen it as a positive thing, where kids have certainly been less distracted by other things going on around them and in their lives," Mr Madden said.
"They catch up on those things when they get to lunchtime and recess and they're more focused in class."
Primary schools say the ban will not make much difference.
Kennington Primary School principal Travis Eddy said the school had never allowed mobile phone use within the class room.
Mr Eddy said some students might bring a mobile phone to school for safety while travelling to and from school, but these were given to their classroom teacher during the day.
He said the ban was a good move in terms of improving the learning, safety and support for all children.
Spring Gully Primary School principal Francis Tresize concurred, saying the school had never let students have mobile phones at school, but he was broadly supportive of the move.
Students using phones to monitor health conditions will be excepted from the ban, as will students when a teacher has instructed them to bring their phone for a specific activity.
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