Gordonstoun’s view of mobile phone usage
The Principal of Gordonstoun, Lisa Kerr, made headlines recently for speaking out about the Scottish boarding school’s decision to ban mobile phones. Here she shares with us her thinking behind the move.
“Our 200 acres of beautiful woodland, classrooms, playing fields and performance spaces are once again noisy with the sound of excited chatter and shared stories.
This is, sadly, in stark contrast to what we see elsewhere: young people with heads hunched, shoulders rounded, engaged in a virtual rather than a real world…
Parents increasingly tell me they are worried about the amount of time their children are spending on screens; they want their children to have real – not virtual – experiences. With competition for university places and jobs tougher than ever, we know that young people need more than just great exam results to succeed in life. Spending their time interacting with each other, rather than their phones, helps to build strong social and interpersonal skills. Being off screens also gives more time for our extensive out of classroom programme including sports, arts, expeditions and community service.
Gordonstoun banned phones during the school day in 2017 and the feedback from pupils has been surprisingly positive, with students particularly enjoying the complete ‘detox’ on multi-day Sail Training Voyages and Expeditions. Strong academic performance in GCSE and A Levels, recognised in our recent Inspection report as an important strength of Gordonstoun, is another benefit.
Of course, young people need to be adept at using and controlling (rather than being controlled by) technology, and this forms part of our curriculum, with age-related screen access also allowed in personal time. However, as a society, unless we take decisive action, we are in danger of raising a generation who cannot build meaningful relationships with a wide range of people.”
If you would like to discuss Gordonstoun as an option for your child’s education, or other British boarding schools like it, please contact us to find out more.