Kate Green hits out at 'interfering' Williamson over school phone ban

29 June 2021, 16:17 | Updated: 29 June 2021, 16:43

By Fiona Jones

Shadow education secretary Kate Green dismisses Gavin Williamson's "micromanagement" of schools, as he considers a mobile phone ban.

Banning mobile phones in schools is one of the measures being considered by the education secretary to promote "calm classrooms".

Mr Williamson said he wants to make the school day mobile-free, describing the devices as "not just distracting" but also potentially "damaging" when misused.

MP Kate Green was among those to cricitise his potential policy: "Most schools already have behaviour policies that ban the use of mobile phones in class.

"We really don't need Nick Gibb and Gavin Williamson micromanaging how schools run these matters at a time when...there are so many other things preoccupying schools and parents: the exam results we've just talked about, the collapse in bubbles and children being sent home and losing more learning."

Read more: 375,000 pupils absent under Covid school rules

She continued, "Concerns about children's social and emotional wellbeing, and access to activities that will help them to recover from the pandemic, the Government's woeful failure to fund the package of recovery measures recommended by their own education expert Sir Kevan Collins."

The education adviser Sir Kevan Collins may have shared Ms Green's sentiments, as he resigned in response to the government's £1.4 billion catch-up plan for schools, citing the size of the fund as insubstantial.

"Parents care about behaviour and of course they do, they're right to, but schools are well able to manage things like mobile phones on school premises without the interference of Nick Gibb and Gavin Williamson, who need to be concentrating on what's really concerning to parents and to teachers, which is to make sure that children make up for lost learning and lost social contact and welfare and development."

Mr Williamson's idea is being considered as part of a six-week consultation, launched on Tuesday, seeking the views of teachers, parents and other staff on how to manage good behaviour.