Teachers and students headed back to school on Tuesday after the six-week break to start the new school year.
Plenty of nerves and excitement as students look forward to seeing friends and getting to know new teachers while they start on the next year of their learning journey with enthusiasm, and everyone well prepared for a big year ahead.
One big change this year that has been welcomed by staff and parents, is the introduction of the mobile phone ban.
Primary school students who bring mobile devices to school will be required to hand them in at the front office for the day.
Secondary students will be expected to turn off their phones, smartwatches and other personal devices and keep them ‘off and away’ all day – including during breaks.
The policy allows for teachers to permit mobiles only when necessary for classroom purposes or in emergencies.
Special consideration will be given to students with special requirements on a case-by-case basis managed by the school.
Providing a mobile-free zone in classrooms and on school grounds will help our teachers and school staff provide a focused and productive learning environment where children and young people can feel safe, connect with each other, and achieve learning outcomes.
Each school will have their own plans on how students can securely store their mobile phones. For example, locked bags, lockers or storerooms.
The Tennant Creek Primary and High schools will provide details on how students will be required to store their mobile phones and other devices.
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said the Territory Labor Government supports families to send to their kids to school with a raft of measures including $150 Back to School Vouchers, $100 sports vouchers, engagement and attendance programs, before and after school care and school buses.
“Mobile phones can be confiscated by the school if the student is using the device and they have not been given an exemption to use it,” she said.
“The student or parent or carer will need to collect the phone after school. This will depend on the school policy as well as the frequency of non-compliance.”
Minister for Education Eva Lawler said teachers, school leaders and school support staff do a wonderful and very important job. “The importance of going to school every day cannot be underestimated.
This is why our government has an Education Engagement Strategy,” said Minister Lawler.
“We need to work together – government, communities and families – to make sure learning is relevant, engaging, culturally responsive and flexible so that each and every Territory student can find their place and thrive.
This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 3 February 2023.