Mobile phones at school

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There are new rules about using mobile phones in public schools in the NT that apply to students in primary school and high school. These rules apply to mobile phones and other electronic devices including smart watches and tablets. 

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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 rules?

If you are in preschool to year 6 

The rules say you are not allowed to have a mobile phone with you during the school day. Each school will have its own rules about collecting mobile phones and storing them during the day. 

If you are in years 7 to 12 

You do not have to hand your mobile in to the school, but it needs to be turned off and put away and stored securely. You should not be able to access, see or hear your phone while you are at school.  

All public school students 

The rules also say: 

  • You are not allowed to use your phone during break times, such as recess and lunch.  
  • You also cannot use your phone at school before school or after school.  
  • These rules apply when you are on school camps, excursions or other school activities.  
  • If you have a smart watch, you must put it on flight mode so that you cannot send or receive messages during the school day.  
  • You are only allowed to use your phone during school hours if you have been given permission by your school to use your phone for a certain purpose.  

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

Can I bring my phone to school?

You are allowed to bring your phone to school, but it must be turned off and you are not allowed to use it during the school day. If you are in preschool to year 6, you will need to give your phone to your school each day at your school’s phone collection point.   

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. 

You can get approval from the school to use your mobile phone at school, or to have it with you. Under the rules, you can get approval to use a mobile phone at school: 

  • to monitor a health condition as part of your documented health care plan  
  • for a particular learning purpose under the direct instruction of a teacher  
  • with permission from a teacher for a particular purpose 
  • in the event of an emergency 

If you want to get approval, it’s a good idea 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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