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Parents and students will be able to have their say on the use of smartphones in schools

The Education Minister said smartphone use by students “increasingly caused concern”.

Image: Lakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

EDUCATION MINISTER RICHARD Bruton has announced that parents and students will be consulted over the use of smartphones in schools, saying that their use by students has “increasingly caused concern”.

Bruton said he would publish a circular that will require that schools consult with parents, teachers and students on the use of the phones and tablet devices in schools.

He also announced that the use of these devices in school will be included as an item requiring consultation under the Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill 2016.

Once this Bill is enacted, it will require schools to consult with parents and students on key issues and publish a Student and Parent Charter.

Speaking ahead of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) conference today, Bruton said it was important to put in regulations around smartphone use in schools.

“The use of smartphones and tablet devices by our young people is an area that has increasingly caused concern,” he said.

New technologies are fundamentally transforming the world we live in. These changes offer fantastic opportunities for our young people but also pose potential risks, which we as a government must respond to.

Schools will be required to consult parents and students on issues like the appropriate use of tablets and smartphones in schools, what restrictions will be needed and whether devices should be allowed to be used outside of class time, among other things.

Bruton is set to address the TUI conference later today.

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The minister was heckled yesterday while addressing the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland’s (ASTI) annual conference in Cork.

A number of delegates shouted and held up placards which called for ‘equal pay for equal work’ while Bruton spoke, voicing their concerns over an unequal pay scale introduced in 2010.

Read: Richard Bruton heckled at conference as teachers threaten to strike over pay issues

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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