31st August 2017
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
Leading private school forces pupils to hand in mobile phones in effort to wean them off 'addiction'
A leading private school is forcing its pupils to hand in their mobile phones at the beginning of each day, in an effort to wean children off their “addiction” to technology.
The headmaster of Brighton College, a mixed independent boarding school, has written to parents to inform them of the new regime which he said is coming into force in at the start of the next term.
From September, students in year seven, eight and nine will be required to hand in their mobile phones at the beginning of the day to teachers who will lock it away, ready for collection between 4 and 5pm when they are about the go home.
Students in year ten will be allowed their phones, but must subscribe to three “detox” days a week where they hand it in, with year elevens having one “detox” day.
Richard Cairns, the headmaster of Brighton College, said: “Our strategy is to wean pupils off their addiction to mobile phones while they are still relatively young, gradually allowing them more freedom to use phones as they get older so that they learn how to be responsible users”.
“We want to provide time and space for youngsters to learn the simple art of conversation, to look up and notice the wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful world around them, and to discover the pleasures of simple board games and physical activity.”
The exam cheating controversy shows the system is fraught with danger - but teachers must still set papers
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council looks at the issue.
With stories about exam malpractice at two schools in the news, parents may well be wondering what is going on and whether they need to be worried.
Concern is understandably mounting over a few teachers who have given too much help and information to pupils in their Pre U and IGCSE exams, but little is known about these slightly odd sounding-qualifications and why it is in fact a good idea for teachers to set, teach and mark exams.
Teachers, either in schools or colleges, mark the vast majority of public exams including GCSEs and A-levels. Without them the system would collapse, so they deserve our gratitude. And why do they do it? The pay for marking is poor, so most teachers do it as a form of professional development - it is much easier to teach a course well if you have marked scripts previously
the current system does need careful scrutiny; both to ensure fairness and because it is fraught with danger for the very teachers we rely upon to keep the exam system afloat.
One simple solution would be to ensure that teachers continue to set exam questions but never know in which particular exam they will come up. Recent reforms of GCSEs and A-Levels have made this much more achievable. They now have more similar content across the different exam boards, so it should also be possible for experienced question-setters to contribute to a larger ‘bank’ of questions, in some subjects at least.
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