Our Community - Our Future

Camera phone safety

Every now and again the Government talks about how schools should take a firm line with mobile phones, encouraging tough policies to ensure that phones are not a distraction to learning and are not used negatively during social times. Whilst part of me wishes the Government would issue a blanket nation-wide ban on student use of phones in school (as is the case in some countries), I do 100% agree that schools need to be firm on this issue and allow no grey areas. I’ve visited perhaps 15 other secondary schools in the past 18 months and every time I go out, I am even more convinced that our mobile phone rules at MHS are absolutely right. Students are welcome to have mobile phones in their possession at our school, and we don’t ask them to be locked away in special lockers each morning like some schools, but they must not be seen or heard at all when a student is inside our school gates. If a phone is seen or heard then it is confiscated, a policy enforced by every member of staff, and the phone is only returned to a responsible adult. It’s a very simple rule and an effective one, and one that I know has had an impact on learning, behaviour, student wellbeing and in a reduction of online bullying. I am aware that the policy can be annoying to some parents and carers at times, but I stand by it as being one of the most transformative things we have done in the 11-ish years I have been Headteacher. I will always remain very grateful for the support of families with this policy, as together it is making a difference.

However, no matter what safeguards we put in place at school or at home, we as adults need to be mindful that the camera-phone can be a danger to the teenager who uses it. The BBC reported this week that the authorities had taken the unusual step of asking schools to warn students about the dangers of voluntarily sharing explicit images of themselves. The article is here. It is a timely reminder that we need to keep impressing on young people that they should never share such images of themselves online. Once the images are out there, they can never be deleted. So often young people believe in or trust the person that they are sending pictures to, only to have that trust broken with serious consequences. More and more, criminals are now deliberately targeting teenagers and young adults in the hopes of exploiting their shame and embarrassment for money. For that reason we as a school will carry on making our students aware of the dangers of voluntarily sharing images online, and I’m sure that parents and carers will do the same.

Best wishes,

Joe Barker


Our Community - Our Future
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker
Tel: 0161 427 7966
Fax: 0161 426 0931
Email: info@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
Safeguarding: safeguarding@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk