A HIGH school in Winsford is making students lock their mobiles in high-tech pouches in the hope it will improve their behaviour.

All students at Winsford Academy are being given a locking ‘Yondr’ pouch, in which they will be told to put their phones each morning, before clipping it shut.

At the end of the day, children will be able to tap their pouch on a sensor as they leave school, which will unlock it.

Acting head teacher, Louisa Rogers, says phones in school are a ‘detrimental distraction’ for both teachers and students during lessons.

Last term, she added, the school logged 350 instances of inappropriate mobile phone use over a five-week period.

Northwich Guardian: One parent said she'll be charged to replace her child's pouch if it gets lost or damagedOne parent said she'll be charged to replace her child's pouch if it gets lost or damaged (Image: Yondr)

Mrs Rogers says the pouch scheme is part of a new behaviour policy being implemented this term, called ‘the Winsford Way’, in an attempt to boost the overall educational experience of students at the school.

She said: “Like most schools across the country, mobile phone use is a big problem for us.

“This causes a huge and detrimental distraction for individual students, for their classmates, and for teachers trying to keep classes focussed.

“In line with Department for Education recommendations, we have taken the decision to restrict the use of mobile phones at school using a secure pouch system.

“Students will be able to keep their phones on their person but will not be able to access them from the start until the end of the school day when they tap out.

“We hope this will mean fewer distractions during lessons, less opportunity to access inappropriate content, and better social interaction between students during breaks.

“We recognise this is a big change, and we will be supporting students and families as the scheme is introduced over a staggered start to the new school term and is embedded into school life.”

Some parents have already raised practical concerns about the scheme, including the potential cost of replacing their child's pouch if it gets lost or damaged. 

One mum, who asked not to be named, said: “Some of the parents are quite worried about how they’re going to contact their children during the school day.

“They say you can phone the school in an emergency, but some kids use their phones to pay for their dinner.

“How are they going to do that if it’s locked in a pouch?

“They also say the kids will be given a pouch at first, but if they lose it, or it gets vandalised or drawn on, parents are going to be asked to pay £25 to replace it.

“A lot of people who send their kids to this school would really struggle to find that.

“It seems a bit like we’re being set up to fail.”

However, the school claims the new phone policy is necessary, as it forms part of its new overall approach to improving behaviour in school.

Mrs Rogers added: “With regular meetings and communications planned, we are ensuring parents and carers are aware of the steps we are taking and can give us feedback on what we’re planning and doing.

“We remain grateful for the ongoing support of the Winsford community.”