15 June 2021, 16:49 | Updated: 15 June 2021, 16:57
A headteacher in South London has told LBC why her school is looking at banning mobile phones during school hours as she seeks to combat sexual harassment.
Jane Lunnon, who is the headteacher of Alleyn’s School, spoke to LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty as the school is consulting with staff, parents and pupils on whether to ban mobile phones during school hours.
Speaking of the reasons for the school looking at the issue, she said: “The two major motivating factors for me are [firstly] the impact of lockdown actually and the way it has exacerbated some of our kids’ dependency on the online world, and secondly absolutely the impact of the Everyone’s Invited conversation and…Ofsted’s really levelling report in that regard.”
The Ofsted report Mrs Lunnon was referring to found that sexual harassment had become “normalised” for children in schools and colleges.
In response to the report, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “No young person should feel that this is a normal part of their daily lives – schools are places of safety, not harmful behaviours that are tolerated instead of tackled.”
Mrs Lunnon said: “Nothing is free. We all know that. We’ve been given access to this software for free.
“And in fact what has been commodified is our attention. We have sold our attention. The software manufacturers in the companies have paid a lot of money to make it addictive [and] compelling.
“And if you put that alongside the entirely natural instinct that teenagers have to be in contact 24/7 with their peers…then you’ve got a really really difficult cocktail.”
She then told Shelagh: “You know how we look back at the 19th century and think ‘my God they gave gin to their children’?
“Well I think in 30 years time people will look back and say ‘Really? They did that? They…allowed kids..to have free access on their phones to really graphic material.”