Circular 0038/2018, which issued to schools last year requires all schools to consult with teachers, students and parents in developing policy for the use of smart phones and personal devices in school. This requirement to consult will be underpinned in law once the Students and Parent Charter Bill is enacted. I will publish this Bill in the Autumn. Schools are not required to report to my Department on the implementation of circulars and my Department is not aware of any issues in the implementation of this Circular in ETB schools.
Decisions on the use of smart phones and other such devices in schools are taken at local level by the Board of Management of a school, who under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998 have responsibility for the direct governance of a school.
My Department recognises the requirement to safeguard children from the negative impact of using digital devices. It is also important that we continue to work together to raise awareness to the benefits of new technologies and to recognise the value of digital technology to enhance teaching and learning for all students while also safeguarding our children online