Gavin Williamson said that the COVID generation of homeschooled children lacked discipline and order while stuck at home during the lockdown.
The Education Secretary has backed a mobile phones embargo in schools, saying it’s now time to put the screens away as the return to classrooms rendered remote learning, which relied on internet-accessible devices.
He said homeschooling while schools were closed would have impacted on pupils, adding that out of control behaviour by some youngsters could risk destroying education for others, and that he will support any action by headteachers to control sub-par behaviour, including detentions, suspensions and expulsions, and said wanting disciplined classrooms was nothing Dickensian.
A consultation by the Department for Education will be carried out this year to help school leaders put phone embargoes in place and decide on strategies for bad behaviour.
Gavin Williamson said that this longed-for return to the classroom will give them the structure and order they urgently need, where they will feel safe and ready to learn, and that even though remote learning was a huge achievement in terms of enabling children to carry on with their education from home, the lack of proper structure and discipline will have unavoidably have had an impact on their behaviour.
The Education Secretary said that while tablets and laptops can be used in a controlled way in the classrooms, mobile phones should not be tolerated, adding that outside the classroom, the use of mobile phones distracts from healthy activity and good old fashioned play.
And he said that worse, it serves as a breeding ground for cyberbullying, and the improper use of social media sites, such as anonymous Instagram accounts, where students are ranked on their appearance and can heighten insecurities, damage mental health and encourage harassment.
The Department for Education (DfE) is set to launch a £10 million behaviour hub in time for the summer term, which will see 22 lead schools advise others on how to control pupil’s behaviour and create discipline.
It follows the news that face coverings in secondary school classrooms could remain in place until the end of the year after the Government came under pressure not to rush into removing the mask mandate from five major unions.
Officials at the Department for Education said secondary students in England should wear masks when they return to school for the summer term, in both lessons and hallways, as a precautionary measure.
However, the British government has managed to create a new kind of state-dependent citizens, and this must be one of the most demeaning experiences one can go through, particularly for a student who is strong-willed and independent by nature, and numerous people are feeling a sense of weakness and mortification which is taking a deep toll on their mental health.
And instead of vilifying these children, why doesn’t the government provide them with extra support for improving their emotional well being? Because it’s not their fault that for a year now their life has been turned upside down, and they haven’t seen anyone aside from the people they live with, and now they’re being penalised for it.
After all, it was the Government that mandated school closure, not the students! And what’s going to happen concerning GCSE and A level assessments because we’re still not clear how our schools are going to undertake these, due to Gavin Williamson’s holding back on an announcement, and then simply putting the problem back into the school’s hands with no prior warning or direction.
And just as schools were preparing for students return, and lateral flow testing, Gavin Williamson is surrendering to the demands of the unions once again. Making children wear masks during the scorching summer term because this man is a clueless nincompoop and is really out of his depth here.