New Government Regulations for Student Phones

31 January 2024

The government has, via the Ministry of Education, recently implemented regulations aimed at mitigating disruptions caused by these devices.

Phones away for the day!

The new rules are designed to ensure that the learning of all students is maximised while minimising any potential for distraction and cyberbullying. The government has mandated that student phones must be “away for the day”, meaning phones are not to be on during school hours – from 8:30am to 3:00pm, this includes all break times.

At Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton, this means that phones must be switched off and in bags from 8.30am (the start of CCM) until 3.00pm, including break times.

The only exception to this clear expectation is when a student requires a phone to monitor an ongoing medical condition (such as insulin levels), the phone is required to assist a student with a disability or the teacher requires students to use phones for a specific educational task (such as recording conversations in Te Reo for assessment or feedback). In addition, the Principal may decide that a phone is needed for special circumstances.

There is a clear process for breaching these regulations, and all students will be made aware of these. In the first instance, if a student is seen possessing a phone, it will be confiscated by a teacher, placed in a named, zip-locked bag, and taken to the Student Centre, where it can be collected at the end of the school day. This will be recorded as a pastoral incident on the student’s school record. If further incidents occur or a student refuses to put their phone in the zip-locked bag, this will result in further consequences, including a whānau meeting. The school may require a student to hand their phone into the Student Centre at the beginning of the day and collect it at the end if they cannot self-manage their phone use.

It is important to note that if students decide to bring a phone to school, they do so at their own risk. The school is not responsible for any loss or damage caused to any phone.

We appreciate the support of whānau as we make these changes to comply with the new regulations. It will take some “re-educating” for some; however, experience in other schools indicates that once embedded, the absence of phones not only makes learning more effective but leads to more positive social interactions – something we all want!

If a parent or caregiver needs to contact their child urgently during the day, they should call the Student Centre. P: 07 856 7874 extn: 2803