After an extensive consultation period with both staff and students, Echuca College will implement a new mobile phone policy from Monday 22 July. This work started well before the announcement from the state government to ban mobile phones in schools entirely, and will provide a transitional period for students. Our policy states that mobile phones must not be used during class or assemblies or in any way that disrupts the learning of others. Research suggests that mobile phones can impair learning and cause students to score lower on assessment tasks than if they are free of these devices. Until the end of the year, students will still be able to access their phones during recess and lunchtime.

At Echuca College we want all students to be the best they can be, so the use of mobile phones in classes will no longer be allowed except under direct instruction by the classroom teacher. As a parent, you can support this by not attempting to contact your child on their device during class time. If the matter is urgent, I encourage you to contact the college front office on 5482 1133. There will be boxes provided in every classroom in which students can place their phone at the beginning of each class. If your child chooses to use their mobile phone during class time it will be confiscated and only returned to them at the end of the day. Multiple breaches of this rule mean you will be contacted and may result in them losing the privilege of having a mobile phone at school.

The Daniel Andrews Government has mandated a ban of mobile phones in all Victorian public schools from ‘first bell to last bell’ from the beginning of 2020. I encourage you to read the media release from Minister James Merlino: which provides some detail to this decision. Our policy from the beginning of next year will follow this expectation. Our current policy can be found on our website. It is important to note that only students who require their mobile phones for medical reasons will be exempt from this ban.

I look forward to the support of all members of the college community in following this important change. If you have any questions about this please contact the college for further information.

Simon Wood
Acting College Principal