Mobile phones at school

For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.   

There are new rules about using mobile phones in public schools in NSW. There are also rules about using other digital devices, including laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and smartphones. 

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Mobile phones in schools

The rules on mobile phone use at school are different depending on whether you go to a public government school or a private school. If you go to a private school, scroll down for some more information about the rules that apply to you. 

What are the new rules?

In general, students are not allowed to use mobile phones at NSW public schools, including during recess and lunch. 

Schools can make their own rules about things like: 

  • where phones need to be stored during the day (for example, in lockers, in classrooms or in the school office) 
  • how parents and students can stay in contact during the school day 
  • exemptions that apply to these rules.   

What if I need my mobile phone?

There might be lots of reasons why you might need to use a mobile phone at school. For example: 

  • you might need it for safety reasons 
  • you might need it for an urgent family situation happening outside of school 
  • you might need it to support your participation in school because of a disability 
  • you might need it because of a health condition. 

Under the new rules, school principles need to have a plan for dealing with requests for exemptions – where students can have their mobile phone with them for some or all of the school day. 

If you want an exemption, it’s a good idea to find out your school policy on how to request it. You can also think about whether you need any evidence to support your application (for example, a letter from a doctor or a family member). 

It can also be a good idea to talk to a family member or a teacher you trust about why you need an exemption, so they can support you with this process. 

If you think the school has treated you unfairly, you can contact us for advice. For more information about discrimination at school, check out our webpage. 

What happens if I use my phone at school without permission?

Each school should have its own policies about what can happen if you break school rules. You can also check out our webpages on: 

If you go to a private school

If you go to a private school, it probably has its own policy on when you can use a mobile phone at school. You can find this by searching on your school’s website, or asking a teacher you trust at school. 

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