Mobile phones at school

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There are rules about using mobile phones that apply to all public schools in Victoria. There are also rules about using other personal devices, including smartwatches and iPads. 

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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?

All public school students in Victoria must keep mobile phones turned off and stored during school hours. This means that you are also not allowed to use your phone at break times, such as recess and lunch.  

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

Can I bring my phone to school?

You are allowed to bring your phone to school, but you are not allowed to use it during the school day. You can use your phone when travelling to and from school, at out-of-school care and out-of-school hours events.   

Schools are required to provide secure storage for mobile phones that are brought to school. Before storing your phone, you will need to turn it off.  

What if I need my phone?

There might be lots of reasons why you might need to use a mobile phone at school. You can get approval to use your phone at school for a specific purpose, for example: 

  • for a specific learning activity in the classroom 
  • if you have a disability or learning difficulty 
  • if you have a health conditions 
  • if you are a carer  
  • if you are undertaking school activities not on school campus in certain situations. 

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: 

For example, if you use your phone at school without approval, you may get detention or have your phone taken away temporarily. If your phone is taken away from you, you have a right to get your phone back at the end of the school day.  

You should not be suspended from school unless you seriously misuse your mobile phone in school or repeatedly refuse to comply with the school’s mobile phone rules. Seriously misusing your mobile phone would include cyberbullying.  

What about smartwatches?

The rules say that wearable and personal devices – like smartwatches and iPads – must have all notifications switched off during the school day. Schools can also make their own rules about using these devices while at school. 

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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