WHETHER or not pupils should be allowed smart phones in school is quite a thorny topic currently.

From this month, France has introduced a total ban and there are many who would like that in the UK. But some innovative teachers are using the technology as a valuable resource to develop different ways of learning.

So should smart phone use then be restricted?

In June, Culture Secretary Matthew Hancock called on schools to ban smart phones during the school day. Apart from the problems with bullying that they bring, studies have also shown that mobile phones have a definite impact on working memory and intelligence — even if the phone is on a table or away from sight in a bag.

In other words, the pull of a mobile phone is often too strong to ignore and the result is checking them far too regularly and not concentrating properly on studies.

It’s definitely something any adult with a smart phone can identify with as most of us carry them everywhere and check them far too often.

Phones have evolved so rapidly that they have become a behavioural issue in schools.

Some schools will have a strict ban on mobile phone use during the day.

Matthew Hancock would like to see pupils aged 11 to 16 switch off their phones and put them in their lockers from 8.25am to 4pm. Parents would be told to ring the school if they want to contact their son or daughter.

While it might seem obvious that such a distracting device should not be available during the school day, it is also a fact that some teachers work well with the technology. The game-based platform Kahoot!, for example, is free to use but is reliant on students being able to access mobile devices.

If a school has reduced computing facilities, mobiles can form a plank in its resources. The difficulty in allowing this is then how to restrict pupils otherwise.

We know that the internet has a real role in teaching our children but also has a worrying downside that needs policing and restricted use.

Parents will have their own opinions and may be influential in individual school’s policies on this. One thing is certain about mobile phone use in schools, though: not having a policy and simply allowing pupils to use them whenever they want to is a recipe for genuine problems.