PUPILS in the Swindon area are getting mixed messages from above when it comes to mobile phone policy in schools.

A recent survey by uSwitch revealed 49 per cent of parents think that their child’s school should ban the use of mobile phones, with one in eight saying that theirs had already done so.

One such example is Dorcan Academy, where a strict no phones policy is in operation.

Headteacher Sherryl Bareham said: “The decision to ban them stemmed from seeing students in the dining room, staring at their phones, not communicating with their peers of staff, which we felt was anti-social.

"The policy is ‘see it, hear it, lose it’.

“In other words, students have to have it switched off and in their bag during the school day, from the moment they enter through the gate to the moment they exit.

“If we see or hear a mobile phone, it is confiscated, and the parents have to collect it. This is non-negotiable. Consequentially, we very rarely have an issue.

"Failure to hand over the phone, which rarely happens, results in an immediate isolation and parents are called. Failure at that point to hand it over results in a fixed-term exclusion.

“At times, for educational purposes, students are allowed to use their phones as part of lessons, with the teacher’s permission, however as soon as the activity is finished, it goes back in the bag again.”

Mrs Bareham said that since the rule was introduced there has been an increase in the level of conversation among students.

She added: “Students talk to one another and their ability to communicate has improved.

"It has also changed the ethos and culture of our school for the better.”

On the other side of the argument, there is a belief that that limiting a child’s time with his or her device will leave them at a disadvantage in this tech-driven age.

That the basis for the more relaxed stance taken by Royal Wootton Bassett Academy.

Headteacher, George Croxford said: “Students can use their phones before or after school as well as during lunch and break time.

“It can also used in lessons if the teacher wants to do so for educational purposes and so far it’s worked well.

“The reason for this is that phones are part of our culture now and we don’t want our students to see it as a negative thing.”