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Netherlands: Mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches to be banned in classrooms | UK News

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Phones, tablets and smartwatches will be mostly banned from classrooms in the Netherlands from 1 January 2024.

The move is to limit distractions from social media, messaging and other sites.

Devices will only be permitted if they are needed for the lesson, for medical reasons, or for people with disabilities.

“Even though mobile phones are intertwined with our lives, they do not belong in the classroom,” said education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf.

“Students need to be able to concentrate and need to be given the opportunity to study well.

“Mobile phones are a disturbance, scientific research shows. We need to protect students against this.”

Mr Dijkgraaf said schools could manage the implementation of the ban themselves but laws would follow by the summer if results are not good enough.

France introduced a phone ban for primary and middle schools in 2018 to improve focus and prevent online bullying.

Some studies have suggested exam performance dips slightly when recreational phone use is allowed in class.

A ban in UK schools has been suggested for a number of years by proponents but hasn’t come to fruition.

Schools are currently left to establish their own policies and last year the government said further intervention wasn’t needed.

“In most cases mobile phones are already banned for the majority of the school day with schools taking a range of measures to enforce that policy,” said the Department for Education.

Read more:
‘Corrosive’ mobile phones should be totally banned in schools
Mobile should be banned in classrooms, schools minister says

In 2021, former UK education secretary Gavin Williamson said banning mobiles would be considered among a range of measures to “calm classrooms”.

He said they were distracting and a threat to pupils’ mental health.

Education leaders from more than 120 schools also signed an open letter in 2019 in support of phone-free classrooms.

However, union leaders said a blanket ban wouldn’t work and could drive phone use “underground” and make it harder to monitor.

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