14 Jun 2019

Message from the Principal

Disconnect to reconnect

A couple of weeks ago we started our ‘disconnect to reconnect’ trial, where we decided that before school and during lunch breaks, we would all have a break from our mobile digital devices.  Students who needed to complete school work could still go to the LRC to use their device, as the trial was about our students having a break from social media and gaming during school break times.

We also promised our students that this would be a trial, and a way to ‘learn by doing’ to then reflect on the experience to inform our next steps. We have received over 600 student and 350 parent responses to our ‘disconnect to reconnect’ surveys and next week we will consider the feedback to help inform our digital devices policy for next academic year. We have already extended the trial, and we now have enough information and feedback to inform our decision about what next.

As we made a commitment to our students that this would be a trial and a ‘strategic break’, we will revert back to our existing digital devices policy for the final two weeks of the academic year. This will be another learning opportunity for our students as it will be interesting to see whether the table tennis, card games, board games, etc., can survive with the return of the digital. During the next two weeks we will continue to collect feedback from students, parents and staff and make a decision regarding our digital devices policy for next academic year and beyond. We plan to communicate and publish this policy before the end of this academic year.

Again, the attitude of our students and their willingness to participate in this trial has been outstanding. Many of our students enjoy their access to phones and laptops for social and recreational reasons, and to disconnect so readily is a credit to all our students. I was also amazed at how well our students adapted to the non-digital break times. It was surprising and refreshing to see, hear and feel the difference in the playground atmosphere. There was palpably more energy, laughter, smiles, human interaction, movement and joy in the playground. Simply, our students seemed even more remarkable when they communicated face to face, with eye contact and were just that bit more connected and in the moment.

Kind regards

Mark Blackshaw
King George V