Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/19/tories_outlaw_mobile_phones_schools/

Tories call for mobile phone ban in schools

Respect my authority, kids

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Mobile, 19th November 2007 13:09 GMT

Mobile phones would be outlawed in UK classrooms under Conservative Party plans to beef up discipline in schools.

The Tories said in an education policy document that they wanted to see authority returned to teachers. They reckoned an important part of that proposal would include a crackdown on the use of mobile phones.

David Cameron et al want to see more power handed to teachers because of concerns over disruptive behaviour and bullying in the classroom and school playground, including the increase in "happy slapping" incidents among teenagers using camera phones.

Under current government policy, teachers do not have the legal authority to confiscate mobile phones from school kids.

The Tory plans, which will be published tomorrow, will also include proposals to scrap the key stage one exam for six and seven-year-olds and substitute it with a reading test, as well as calling for an end to the right of pupils' parents to ask an appeal panel to overturn an exclusion.

According to reports, Tory shadow schools secretary Michael Gove said: "We must do more to tackle the problems of poor discipline and high rates of truancy if the opportunities of education are to be open to all. Teachers have to be given the tools to tackle this issue at root.

"The balance has to shift back in the classroom, in favour of the teacher."

But schools secretary Ed Balls lambasted the "nothing new" proposals: "They are either calling for things we are already doing or proposing to turn back the clock. Their policy to abolish appeals for exclusions is misconceived and unworkable," he said. ®