5. School Manual: Digital Devices

5.1 Purpose & Scope

Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School manages digital devices in accordance with the local procedures below and the NSW Department of Educations Student Use of Digital Devices policy. 

Farrer accepts that digital devices, and in particular mobile phones, have become an integral part of modern life. At the same time, it is important that any use of digital devices in the school environment contribute to, and not distract from, the students' education. 

This procedure provides a consistent framework for the safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services by students in our school. It sets out the shared responsibilities of school staff, students and parents and carers. It also provides a framework to manage potential risks to student safety and wellbeing.

This procedure covers student use of digital devices and online services in school-related settings, including on school grounds, at school-related activities and outside of school where there is a clear and close connection between the school and the conduct of students. This procedure covers the use of school-provided and personal digital devices and all online services.

For clarification, a digital device includes mobile phones, laptops, iPads, tablets and any similar digital device that can be used interactively.

Important Note: The NSW Government has recently announced a ban on digital devices in High Schools. This policy will be updated when further information is to hand.

In addition, as advised in Week 10 of Term 2, at Farrer, we acknowledge the positive impact that digital devices and online resources have to support learning. We also recognise the importance of our students’ wellbeing, which may be enhanced by encouraging their interaction with peers and through physical activity. Starting Term 3 there will be no electronic devices (laptop or iPads) allowed in the playground during the school day. The Library classroom will be available for students wishing to complete school work. We are doing this to combat the large amount of time students are spending on devices and also to prepare for the NSW Government ban on mobile phones in all schools which will begin in Term 4, 2023.  Students have been informed of this change at the school assembly today. We are expecting our students to adjust to this new expectation, with Year 7 in particular needing to take heed of this new requirement. Normal disciplinary procedures will apply if students continue to use these devices outside of class time.

5.2 Exemptions

Exemptions to any part of this procedure may apply for some students in some circumstances. Parents and carers can request an exemption and these will be considered on a case-by-case basis and granted when required by law or at the principal’s discretion.
Use of a digital device for medical reasons, such as monitoring of a health condition, or as a requirement for a students individual learning plan, is a necessity and not considered as an exemption, however it is still necessary to complete the Student Digital Devices Exemption Request (P.54)  to formalise the exemption and ensure applicable staff are notified.

5.3 Responsibilities and Obligations

5.3.1 For Students;

  • Be safe, responsible and respectful users of digital devices and online services, and support their peers to be the same.
  • Respect and follow school rules and procedures and the decisions made by staff, knowing that other schools may have different arrangements.
  • Communicate respectfully and collaboratively with peers, school staff and the school community and behave in the ways described in the Behaviour Code for Students.

5.3.2 For Parents and Carers;

  • Recognise the role they play in educating their children and modelling the behaviours that underpin the safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services.
  • Support implementation of the school procedure, including its approach to resolving issues.
  • Take responsibility for their child’s use of digital devices and online services at home such as use of online services with age and content restrictions.
  • Communicate with school staff and the school community respectfully and collaboratively.
  • Switch off or put their digital devices on silent when at official school functions, during meetings and when assisting in the classroom.
  • Provide digital devices that meet school specifications where a school is participating in a bring your own device (BYOD) program and complete any related paperwork.
  • Ensure your child only brings one (1) digital device to school.

5.3.3 For the Principal and Teachers

  • Deliver learning experiences that encourage safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services. This includes:
  • Establishing agreed classroom expectations for using digital devices and online services, in line with this procedure and departmental policy.
  • Identifying strategies to ensure that all students are able to engage in classroom activities including strategies to accommodate students without a digital device.
  • Reading and abiding by the Terms of Service for any online services they use in teaching, including those limiting use by age.
  • Educating students about online privacy, intellectual property, copyright, digital literacy and other online safety related issues.
  • Model appropriate use of digital devices and online services in line with departmental policy.
  • Respond to and report any breaches and incidents of inappropriate use of digital devices and online services as required by school procedures, departmental policy and any statutory and regulatory requirements. This includes:
  • Reporting the creation, possession or distribution of indecent or offensive material to the Incident Support and Report hotline as required by the Incident Notification and Response Policy and Procedures and consider any mandatory reporting requirements.
  • Working with the department and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner (if necessary) to resolve cases of serious online bullying and image-based abuse.
  • Following the school’s behaviour management plan when responding to any incident of inappropriate student behaviour relating to the use of digital devices or online services.
  • If feasible and particularly as issues emerge, support parents and carers to understand strategies that promote their children’s safe, responsible and respectful use of digital devices and online services.
  • Participate in professional development related to appropriate use of digital devices and online services.

5.3.4 For non-teaching staff, volunteers and contractors;

  • Be aware of the department’s policy, this procedure and act in line with the conduct described.
  • Report any inappropriate use of digital devices and online services to the principal, school executive or school staff they are working with.

5.4 Contact between students and parents and carers during the school day

Should a student need to make a call during the school day, this may only be done before or after school. During school hours, parents and carers are expected to only contact students by calling the Administration Office (6764 8600).

5.5 Consequences for Inappropriate Use

If a student’s digital device is not handed in, they will drop one colour level in the first instance, and suspended in the second instance. In the event of persistent ongoing breach of these rules, the student will be prohibited from having a digital device at Farrer.

For Boarding Students see section 5.9 as well.

5.6 Registration

Student mobile phone numbers are to be registered initially, or updated, with the school by completion of the Student Digital Devices Agreement (S.01) form.

5.7 Privacy

The use of a digital device camera to take images or recordings of other students, without their prior permission, is strictly prohibited. Posting images of other students on social media is also prohibited.

5.8 Security

Digital devices should either be in the students pocket or in a secure place i.e., the electronic device locker. The school cannot take responsibility for any loss or theft of digital devices.

5.9 Boarding Students

In addition to the requirements of this procedure, Boarding Students and their parent/carers are to complete;

acknowledging their understanding of the specific additional terms and conditions of having digital devices in the Boarding School, including;

5.9.1 Boarders will be required to place all interactive digital devices in a locked cabinet overnight and during this period the device will be re-charged. Failure to comply in the first instance will result in a formal caution and a drop of one colour level. In the second instance this will result in a suspension.

5.9.2 Digital devices can cause problems when they are lost, damaged or stolen. Students are asked to not leave these items on windowsills charging during the day. Students are required to have their name clearly engraved on their device to assist with identification.

5.9.3 Boarding Students are permitted to have only one (1) mobile phone. Failure to comply in the first instance will result in a formal caution and a drop of one colour level. In the second instance this will result in a suspension.

5.9.4 If digital devices are used when not permitted, be that in Prep or elsewhere, it will be confiscated for a one week for the first offence and for one month for a second offence.

5.9.5 At night, Boarders phones are plugged into the electronic device lockers;

Year 7 8:30pm
Year 8 8:30pm
Year 9 9:00pm
Year 10 9:00pm
Year 11 10:00pm
Year 12 10:30pm

Phones can be collected before breakfast in the morning. 

5.10 Communicating this Procedure

This procedure can be accessed electronically via the school’s website. Any changes will be notified to students and parents via the usual channels.

5.11 Complaints

To lodge a complaint about this procedure, complete the Feedback Form (P.17) available in our Form Bank

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Last reviewed Feb 2024