Most secondary teachers want mobile phone ban in school

Nationwide poll reveals rise in smartphone use in classrooms

Teachers are battling to contain a rise in smartphone use in the classroom, according to a new survey.

A nationwide poll of 1,000 second-level teachers indicates that most – 60 per cent – favour of a ban on mobile phones in schools.

Research indicates many students are checking their devices in class on a regular basis.

Luke Saunders, a science teacher, said students with smartphones in their pockets is the "biggest challenge that teachers face in today's classroom".


The poll, carried out by online exams website, found that 43 per cent of teachers reported classroom discipline was worse than it was five years ago. Mr Saunders, the founder of Studyclix, said this was most likely linked to conflict that phone use has created.

The same poll found a large majority of teachers feel jobs are stressful either sometimes (51 per cent), a lot of the time (32 per cent) or constantly (7 per cent).

On the issue of pay and conditions, it found teachers who entered the profession following the introduction of pay cuts in 2011 are worse off.

The survey found their average monthly take-home pay is €2,070, compared to €2,674 for teachers who started before 2011 – a difference of €600.

A majority of teachers (62 per cent) said they will not be in a position to buy a home within a 30-minute commute of where they work.

Teacher shortage

The poll also indicates that teacher shortages are a major issue with almost a quarter saying they teach subjects they are not qualified to teach.

While teachers may be frustrated at their students use of smartphones, teachers are no strangers to social media.

The poll indicates that most (68 per cent) teachers use Facebook, while a large proportion (36 per cent) have a Snapchat account.

About 17 per cent of teachers still do not have access to high-speed broadband in the classroom.

The survey was based on 1,002 Teachers took the survey online.  There were 1,002 responses from the Studyclix register of over 20,000 teachers.

Pay and a recruitment crisis is set to be a major topic when the teachers conference season gets underway next week.

Motions at all three teachers’ unions – the ASTI, TUI and INTO – will call for progress on pay equality for recently qualified teachers.

The TUI will highlight what it says is a “recruitment and retention crisis” in schools linked to the issue, while the ASTI will debate a motion to attract and retain high quality graduates into the profession.

The INTO is set to call for the two-tier pay gap to be closed and the establishment of supply panels to ease substitute teacher shortages at primary level.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent