Northam students put phones on hold for mental health fundraiser

Northam Senior High School students will put down their phones in an effort to raise funds for a mental health support charity.

The disconnect fundraiser, organised by the Northam Senior High School student services team, will take place in Week 7 of the school term.

Staff and students participating in the event will hand their phones over to student services before 8.30am.

As well as raising funds for Beyond Blue, the exercise will give students an insight into new mobile device bans enforced in WA public schools in 2020.

Announced by premier Mark McGowan and education minister Sue Ellery last month, the 'off and away all day' policy will ban students from using mobile phones during school hours in all public schools.

From 2020, all public schools will implement a ban on the use of mobile phones for students from the time they arrive at school until the end of the school day - including before school and at break times.

The ban will restrict the use of mobile phones, smart watches, earbuds, tablets and headphones unless under the instruction of a staff member.

Students from kindergarten to year 6 will not be permitted to have mobile phones in their possession during the school day.

Students from years 7 to 12 must have their phones turned off during school hours and kept off and out of sight until the end of the school day.

Upon announcing the changes, Mr McGowan said the move would improve mental health outcomes for students.

"We want to create the best possible learning environment for WA kids and our policy will allow students to focus on their school work, without the distraction of a mobile phone," he said.

"The policy will improve the health and wellbeing of students, by encouraging children to connect socially in class and in the school yard.

"Some schools have already adopted this policy, and the results have been very positive.

"While it is recognised that cyberbullying mainly occurs outside school time, banning the use of mobile phones will reduce external issues being brought into a school via technology."