Mobile phones at school

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There are rules about using mobile phones that apply to all public schools in WA. These rules apply to mobile phones and other electronic devices including smart watches, tablets and headphones. 

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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. 

It’s important to be aware that public schools can make their own rules that are stricter than the general rules.  

What are the rules?

If you are in kindergarten to year 6 

You are not allowed to have a mobile phone with you during the school day. This means that your school will collect your phone from you at the start of the day and hold onto it for you until the end of the school day.  

If you are in years 7 to 12 

You are allowed to have your mobile phone with you at school, but it needs to be turned off and kept out of sight until the end of the school day.   

Rules for all students 

You are not allowed to use your phone during break times, such as recess and lunch.  

Your teacher may allow you to use your phone for a learning activity in the classroom, but if your teacher has not told you that you can use your phone, you must keep your phone turned off and stored away. 

What about smart watches?

If you have a smart watch, you must put it on airplane mode so that you cannot send or receive messages during the school day. 

Where do I need to store my phone during the school day?

Your school will decide where you need to store your phone and electronic devices while at school. For example, you may be required to hand your phone in to the school office, or you may be required to store it in your school bag or locker.  

Before storing your devices, you will need to turn them off or place them in flight mode.  

What if I need my 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. 

The rules say you can get approval to use your phone at school: 

  • to monitor a health condition as part of your school approved health care plan 
  • for a particular learning activity  
  • with your teacher’s permission for a particular purpose. 

You need to have the approval of the school principal before you can use it. 

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: 

Can the school take my phone away?

If you use your phone at school without permission, in some situations the school can take your phone away.  

If your school takes away your mobile phone, it can be picked up by your parents (unless you are already over 18 or living independently). The school must give back your mobile phone in an appropriate period of time. The law does not say how long this is. If your phone has been given to the police, you will need to talk to the police officer involved to find out when you can get your phone back. 

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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