Personal Digital Devices Policy (Phones)

Personal Digital Devices Policy

“No phones seen or used!”

Why we have this policy

  • Personal digital devices, especially mobile/smartphones and associated accessories (smartwatches, ear pods, earphones, etc.), can be distracting to student learning when used for personal purposes during class time.
  • These devices may hinder positive social connections, discourage physical activities, and impede face-to-face interactions.
  • The misuse of phones for cyber-bullying, unauthorized photography or recording, and content sharing is a concern.
  • Managing phones and accessories consumes significant staff time and leads to ongoing debates.


  • Ensure consistent expectations for personal device use across the school.
  • Contribute to a safe emotional and physical learning environment.
  • Promote the development of positive social and emotional skills.
  • Establish corrective and disciplinary consequences for device misuse.


  1. Students are prohibited from using mobile/smart phones, smartwatches, or ear pods during the school day (8:40 am to 3:15 pm), including break times.
  2. A breach of this policy occurs if a personal device is observed or used during school hours. The school will not engage in debates regarding device use; a breach is established based on visibility or usage. 
  3. Thames High School recommends that students do not bring phones to school.
  4. Devices are unnecessary during the day; urgent parent contact can be made through the Student Support Office or School Office.
  5. Parents/caregivers are urged to contact their children only outside school hours.
  6. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged phones.
  7. Exceptions to this policy medical monitoring or other specialist needs must be approved by a Deputy Principal or the Principal and will result in a suitable exemption pass being issued.
  8. Learning devices (BYOD), like laptops, may be used on the School Network for Learning (N4L / WiFi). They must be registered and a single-user access to the network will be provided.
  9. If a non-registered personal device is brought, it must be switched off and out of sight.
  10. Breaches will result in consequences outlined below.
  11. The use of digital devices during EOTC activities is at the discretion of the staff member in charge of the trip. It is not recommended that students bring devices on trips. Suitable limits will be in place for any overnight EOTC trips.
  12. Headphones/ear pods are not permitted during class, with exceptions for students on Individual Education or Behavioural Plans.
  13. Policy communicated to stakeholders with clear expectations and corrective responses.
  14. Any confiscated phones will be stored securely in the Student Support Office until they can be collected. Between confiscation and handing to the Student Support Office phones / devices must be secured; consistent with the Surrender and Retention of Property Policy.
  15. The policy still applies if the device has “been borrowed” from another student.
  16. The tumuaki/principal may suspend the policy for special events or needs.
  17. Any Procedures will follow the guidelines and procedures may be modified without full policy review. 


Breaches will be dealt with as follows, maintaining natural justice and adhering to tikanga:

First breach: Device or accessory confiscated, taken to Student Support Office for collection at the end of the school day. Parent contact, KAMAR entry, and email notification*.

Second breach: Device confiscated, retained until a parent can collect. Parent contact, KAMAR entry, and email notification*

*An email will be sent to both the student and parent, advising them of the consequences and what another breach will mean.

Subsequent breaches may lead to disciplinary measures. This may include stand down or suspension for continual disobedience.

Consequences or steps may include:

  • Meeting with parent/caregiver.
  • Banning phone possession at school (not even in a bag).
  • Community Service.
  • Stand down.
  • Suspension pending board discipline meeting.
  • Other appropriate options.

Failure to surrender a device may escalate to Kaiāwhina for disobedience/non-compliance.

Consequences may be escalated to the deputy principal for repeated disobedience, leading to stand down or suspension.


Legislative compliance


Reviewed: Term 4, 2023 Next Review date: End of Term 1, 2024

Ratified: Monday 4 December 2023

Siobhan Flanigan, Presiding Member, School Board