CHILDREN attending Renton Primary School and Knoxland Primary School will be banned from taking their mobile phones into the classroom.

The Reporter has learned that top brass at the schools have introduced a ban following a recent review.

A statement on the Renton PS Facebook page said: “We have reviewed our policy on bringing mobile devices to school and we would ask that if your child brings a mobile phone to school that they are handed in to the office for safe keeping and they can be collected again at 3pm.”

And senior staff at Knoxland PS have followed suit, after a “few negative incidents”.

They issued a statement to parents on their social media page, which read: “Due to a few negative incidents last year regarding the use of mobile phones we have reviewed our mobile phone policy.

“It would be much appreciated if you could discourage your child from taking their mobile phone to school.

“We understand, though, that some pupils do require their mobile phone for walking home.

“If they take their phone to school then they will be collected in the morning and kept in the school office during school hours.”

The news follows recent debate about the issue – and it could prompt more schools in the region to review their own individual policy.

South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne recently lobbied the Scottish Government to overhaul its 2013 guidance on the use of mobile devices in schools.

She claimed that a ban could improve test scores and, perhaps, reduce educational inequality.

Ms Ballantyne, the Scottish Conservatives early years spokesperson, said: “The evidence suggests that excessive smartphone use in schools can reduce educational attainment, particularly among low-achievers.

“At the same time, we know that online bullying is a growing problem in school.

“Many primary school teachers would like to see a ban on smartphones, something I support.”

And her calls have been backed at local level by fellow Scottish Conservative Sally Page, ward councillor for Lomond.

She told the Reporter: “I fully agree with the proposal. Mobile phones are a distraction; a disruption to learning.

“Also, interaction with fellow pupils is severely comprised, which given that part of education is learning social skills, use of mobile phones in a school setting discourages communication on the ground.”

But the Scottish Government seem intent on leaving the question of mobile phones in the classrooms up to head teachers.

A spokesman said: “Head teachers can already ban phones in school if they wish to, however phones are now being used effectively in classrooms to aid learning.

“We encourage local authorities and schools to think carefully about how to incorporate smart and mobile phones into learning and teaching.”

The calls for a ban follows in the wake of research carried out by academics at the London School of Economics which explored the impact of banning mobile phones in schools.

The authors concluded schools that restricted access to mobile phones “subsequently experience an improvement in test scores.”

They also found banning mobiles “improves outcomes for the low-achieving students the most” and that the move could therefore “be a low-cost way for schools to reduce educational inequality”.

Previous guidance from Scottish ministers concluded it was “unreasonable and impractical to attempt to impose a ban on mobile devices in schools.”

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokeswoman said: “We do not ban children from bringing mobile phones to school. At present, there is no Council policy covering this.

“However, some schools provide a facility for safely storing phones during school hours at the discretion of the head teacher.

“We recognise the value of technology and schools should work with parents and carers to support responsible use.”

One father whose child attends Knoxland Primary School told the Reporter: “I am slightly wary over any ban on mobiles in schools.

“I think it will create additional problems and workload for the admin staff.

“They would have to ensure all mobiles have pupils’ names on them, store them safely and have a record of each phone they have on any given day.

“They’d also have to ‘tick out’ their records at 3pm every day and that could be as many as 30 to 50 phones in an averaged sized school.

“To me it’s too much work for the staff, they’re busy as it is and this ban will also result in unnecessary backlogs in the mornings and at home time.”

A local mum said: “Technology has moved on since I was at school but how can taking technology out of the classroom be a good thing?

“Let children keep their mobiles, just educate them on using them more sensibly.”

Another parent added: “In an ideal world the issue would not even surface but people are saying that it’s for the benefit of children’s education so you have to place your trust in the people who run our schools.

“If they say mobiles in the classroom are a distraction then you have to accept it and so do the children that use mobiles.”

She added: “Only time will tell but in the long run it could be a good idea.”