MCC had a very special guest last week; Hon Sue Ellery, Minister for Education and Training visited the College to discuss the possible mobile phone ban policy within Government schools. Accompanying the Minister, was the Senior Policy Adviser to the Minister for Education, Amy McKenna, a graduate of Mandurah Catholic College in 2003. The College Leadership Team, Board and P&F representatives along with six students from Year 6 and Year 10 met with the Minister to discuss the College Mobile Phone Policy.
Director of Learning Technologies, Mr Johnny Ho was very pleased to report that the Minister was impressed with the current policies pertaining to mobile phone use at the College. “The Minister really liked the policies we have in place and said that they minimised the risk that mobile technology can pose to students, while also allowing them appropriate access to their devices. Currently, students are allowed to bring their phones to school, but they are not to be used between the hours of 8am and 3pm.”
Deputy Principal of Teaching and Learning, Mr Paschal McCarthy agrees that the College policies do well to appease students and parents, while limiting the distraction mobile phones can cause. “Our focus is not to ban students from using mobile phones but to educate students that the phone is a distraction to their learning and concentration during school hours both in and out of class. We see face-to-face socialisation during recess and lunch times as being very important to their development and also their well-being. Although the Minister is suggesting a total ban of mobile phones in Government schools to counteract the prolific flaunting of mobile phone use in their classes, we believe that we have a more realistic approach. Having lockers available to students means they can safely store their belongings, including their mobile phone, during school hours and it is there for them to use before and after school. Students are well aware of the policy and are, on the whole, very good at following the procedure. Parents are also happy because they can leave their son or daughter messages about their travel arrangements for them to read when school finishes. It it the best of both worlds.”
College Principal Mr Chris Wallace said, “I was very impressed with Sue as she is truly going around and consulting with students, schools and parents. She is asking the practical and logistical questions and seeing how a policy can be implemented that will focus on enabling students to remove the distraction of technological devices without removing them from using it for practical and safe reasons.”
Photo: Hon Sue Ellery, Minister for Education meets Mandurah Catholic College students, members of the College Board and P&F Association
Photo: Senior Policy Adviser to the Minister for Education Amy McKenna, a graduate of Mandurah Catholic College in 2003, joins in the discussion