No cellphones . . . Craighead head students Charlotte Mulder (left) and Rosie Paul testing the phone rules with principal Lindy Graham. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

by Helen Holt

A year since Craighead Diocesan School introduced its cellphone policy, staff and pupils say it has had a positive influence on their learning environment.

The school introduced a cellphone policy in February last year, which included keeping phones in pockets, off or on silent, non-vibrate mode and not using them during school time.

Principal Lindy Graham said the policy had led to a notable difference in the pupils’ behaviour.

“We noticed on the first day, the noise level during break time was much louder. The girls weren’t scrolling social media, they were talking and playing with each other.”

Head girl Charlotte Mulder said they used to hear phones buzzing during chapel.

The policy was implemented to address issues such as anxiety caused by social media, texting behind people’s backs, pupils being distracted during lessons and photos being taken without permission.

Charlotte said the policy had been good for interaction.

“People are actually talking to each other. And I think it’s better for the younger students to look up to the older ones and see we’re not on our phones.”

Senior pupils are allowed to be on their phones in the common room as a privilege.

“We have the option to look, but we’re not obsessed like we would be,” Charlotte said.

“I don’t even notice it any more.”

Craighead head students Charlotte Mulder (left) and Rosie Paul obey the cellphone policy, keeping their phones safely in their pockets. PHOTO: HELEN HOLT

Ms Graham said she expected complaints when the policy was introduced.

“I don’t think I got any complaints from parents. In fact, they seemed to encourage the idea.”

The school chose to introduce a policy rather than fully ban cellphones, as they served a purpose of safety in that pupils could contact their parents during emergencies.

The policy was inspired by cellphone policies at Christchurch schools St Margaret’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.