Waitākere College

Cell Phones - Away for the Day

Begins Wednesday 3 April 2024 - Please respect these rules and refrain from texting and calling your child until after school.

Kia ora parents and whānau

The Government has introduced regulations that require all state schools and kura to have student phone rules in use. This mandate requires that schools must ensure students do not use or access a phone while they are attending school, including during interval, lunchtime and breaks, corridors, toilets or anywhere on the school grounds. This includes students on a school course or visiting outside the school grounds (EOTC).

The Ministry of Education references: ‘International research indicates that cell phones can distract students from learning during class time and reduce important face-to-face interaction during school breaks. A UNESCO report published in July 2023, describes the move towards cell phones being away for the school day as supporting addressing issues of classroom disruption, improving learning and helping protect children from cyberbullying.’

In response to this, the Waitākere College Board of Trustees has made a necessary amendment to our current mobile phone rules. 

We will start implementing this on Wednesday 3 April 2024, after Easter, by introducing the following rules for all students. Given the rules are different than in previous years we would ask parents and whānau to speak with their children about these rules to support a positive start after Easter which continues into Term 2. 

These rules are designed to ensure that the learning of all students is maximized while minimizing any potential for distraction and cyberbullying. Our approach is ‘away for the day’, meaning phones either do not come with the student to school or are switched off and in bags during the full school day.

It is important to note that if students do make the decision to bring a phone to the school grounds, they do so at their own risk. The school is not responsible for any loss or damage caused to any phone.

If a parent or caregiver needs to contact their child urgently during the day, they should call the office or Student Centre at 8367890 (Press 2), who can then arrange for a message to be passed to their child, or via their school email address. In Lockdown/Evacuation situations, contact with parents/whānau will be by website, text, and email from the college. No student calls are necessary. 

Phone ‘away for the day’ rules

  • Cell phones, earphones, earbuds, music players, ipads, and similar devices must be turned off and safely stored in your
    bag or locker at all times, including intervals/lunchtimes, except where use is authorized by staff for curriculum purposes.

  • Phones will not be used by students on site between 8:30 am and 3:05 pm (exit bell for the day signals the use of mobile
    phones for students).

  • If phones are brought to school, they must be turned off and kept in a student’s own school bag.

We have supported the classroom environment in recent years with students not having phones out in classrooms. This has removed the temptation to use phones during lessons and the subsequent impact on the learning environment. The above rules further support the importance of face-to-face interactions in the academic and social development of young people.

Students are always encouraged to regulate themselves and develop healthy in person relationships. In circumstances where a member of staff considers the device to have breached the school phone rules the result will be confiscation for the rest of the school day. The student may then retrieve the device after school and the inappropriate use recorded in their pastoral records.

The College will follow our usual behaviour management approach based on Common Sense and our Waitākere Way; Respect, Caring, and Learning. However, repetitive disrespect will result in confiscation and possibly a stand down.

Breaches of the phone rules include (but not limited to): 

  • Using the device when not permitted.Any sort of bullying, including online bullying.

  • Taking photos or videos of other people without their permission.

  • Forwarding inappropriate messages or content.

Phones ‘away for the day’ exemptions - a pass will be issued:

  • A phone is needed for health reasons (for example, to monitor insulin levels) or ·       

  • A phone is needed to help a student with a disability 

  • Or learning support needs (for example, to assist with impaired communication)

  • The principal decides that they are needed for special circumstances.  

If phones are used for a learning activity, this will be at the teacher's direction and the phone's use will be supervised by a staff member. Guidelines on appropriate usage still apply.

Please note with all exemptions and exceptions, appropriate usage guidelines and other relevant school rules still apply.


Ngā mihi nui

Mark P Shanahan