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South Wigston school charges for confiscated mobile phone return – BBC News

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Child using mobile phone

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One parent said she thinks it is important for children to have their phones for the journey to and from school

A school has been criticised for charging parents for the return of their child’s confiscated mobile phone.

South Wigston High School’s policy says phones “will be confiscated and returned to parents only. A £2 contribution to the school’s charity will be required for return”.

The Department for Education said schools cannot levy compulsory charges.

The Leicestershire secondary school – which has banned pupils having mobiles – said the payment was “voluntary”.

The school says mobile phones are banned because they are “known to be a major tool for bullying” and “a distraction to learning”.

One parent called the charge “disgusting”, adding: “I think it is important they do have their phones.

“They have to walk home, so why shouldn’t she [her daughter] have her phone if it’s kept in her bag during the school day?”

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South Wigston High School head teacher Susan Webb said the policy meant learning was not disrupted by mobile phones

Another mother called the policy “brilliant” and said her son was at school to learn not to play on his mobile.

“Phones should stay at home. Parents should be penalised for allowing their child to take it to school,” she added.

Head teacher Susan Webb published a statement online to parents which said: “Although we request a £2 charity contribution when parents collect mobile phones, this is voluntary and no parent is made to contribute.”

She asked parents to write to her if they wanted their child to have a phone for the school journey.

‘Heads know best’

Ms Webb told the BBC there were about two of charges issued per week and said the policy was “working well”.

A Department for Education spokesman said the Secretary of State supported schools banning phones, and if they were banned it should be set out in their behaviour policies.

“Head teachers know best how to run their schools and we trust them to make those decisions,” he said.

Schools cannot levy compulsory charges for activities or items unless being charged for is optional, the spokesman added.

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