Banning mobile phones could drive up standards across schools, according to a new report.
The London School of Economics has published a study showing that attainment increases when the use of phones is not permitted.
Test scores rose by more than six per cent in four English cities where the measure was introduced, with low-achieving and low-income students improving the most. With more than 90 per cent of teenagers now owning a smartphone, this policy could be central to boosting educational attainment in the long term.
"We found the impact of banning phones for these students was equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days," said report authors Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy.
They believe that poorly-performing students are more likely to get distracted by their mobile phones, whereas those at the top of the scale score well regardless of the mobile phone policy.
Schools in Birmingham, Leicester, London and Manchester were monitored as part of the project, with their scores recorded before and after phone bans were introduced to see if it made a difference.
The increased use of technology in the classroom is generally seen as a positive contribution, but this research highlights how its use may not always be appropriate. "Schools could significantly reduce the education gap by prohibiting mobile phone use," the report states.
It suggests that banning mobile phones could also be a low-cost way for schools to reduce educational inequality, while removing the possibility for productivity to be limited through distraction.
Mr Beland and Mr Murphy are not totally against the use of mobile phones in the classroom, however, as they feel the technology could have a role to play if its use is properly structured.
Posted by Theo Foulds