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Mobile phone ban on overseas school trip

(277 Posts)
anotherglass Wed 08-Jun-16 14:58:04

12 year old son is due to go on his first overseas school trip to Belgium later this month.

There is a strict ban on children using mobile phones during the trip.

Part of the trip will involve a period of up to 2 hours where children will be allowed to wander around an open, retail precinct - unsupervised. Teachers will not be far and kids will have cards - in the local language - to hand to someone if they are in trouble, during this activity.

Parents were not made aware of this unsupervised element of the trip, prior to making payment.

I am nervous not only about this element, but also the fact that there is a heightened risk of terrorists attacks during the period of the trip, which coincides with Euro 2016.

AIBU to insist on son being allowed to take his mobile phone on the trip?

massivearse Wed 08-Jun-16 14:59:30

Chill. Sounds like the school have taken reasonable precaution.

namechangeparents Wed 08-Jun-16 15:01:11

This was exactly the same procedure as for my son's school trip last year. I think some of the kids did take their mobiles but to play games on. Teachers don't want kids phoning home all the time (or for them to be lost as some parents seem to buy their kids ridiculously expensive phones and them moan when they get lost)

I sympathise OP but no doubt someone will be along to say you are being overprotective etc. But my son's trip was before the Paris and Brussels attacks. All you can say is that they've taken place now so are unlikely to happen again. Maybe it's London's turn again sad

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Wed 08-Jun-16 15:01:26

What would he do if it was stolen in those 2 hours?
Why would your ds be allowed his and the rest of the group not?

Surely the teachers don't want to be responsible for 30 odd phones...

If he is trusted enough to go on the trip, then surely he is trusted enough to get a drink and cake with his mates in a cafe for a couple of hours?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 08-Jun-16 15:01:31

Sounds very sensible given the chances of phones being lost/damaged/massive data charges etc.


specialsubject Wed 08-Jun-16 15:01:56

Yes, very very unreasonable. How will a brick phone stop a terrorist attack? Also it increases the risk of a mugging.

At 12 he should be entirely capable of this not very challenging task. Banning the phones means they don't lose them, break them , run up huge bills and he might actually pay attention to his surroundings . I recommend it

UpWithPup Wed 08-Jun-16 15:02:09

YABU. The school have it in hand.

mygrandchildrenrock Wed 08-Jun-16 15:03:19

My DD is in Y10 and going to Germany in July. No phones or any electronic devices are allowed and haven't been on any school trips in this country or abroad.
When children go on visits like the one you describe, teachers normally position themselves on a bench or in a coffee shop, very visible and children know what time to make contact, usually every 10-20 mins or so.
I'm sure your son will be fine but you will be worrying. You can't insist the school change their rules for you but you can try to chill a bit!

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 08-Jun-16 15:03:30

YABU. Very sensible of the school, imo. He doesn't need a phone on a school trip

TortoiseSmile Wed 08-Jun-16 15:04:50

I am not sure what use a mobile phone would be in such circumstances.

Probably the main reason for the "rule" is to stop them being huddled round their stupid mobiles day-and-night, and actually notice where they are.

Itsmine Wed 08-Jun-16 15:06:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Itsmine Wed 08-Jun-16 15:09:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

specialsubject Wed 08-Jun-16 15:23:29

They are in a shopping centre, not up Ben Nevis . give them a map , job done. The card probably says ' I didnt listen and got lost, please can you direct me to..... '

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 08-Jun-16 15:24:47

They will be fine. I had school trips to London during the height of the IRA threats and nobody had ever heard of mobile phones then.

It sounds like the school are trying to get the children to make the most of the trip rather than playing endless games. I recently walked past a group of French teenagers in a famous historic city near here. They were sitting on some grass surrounded by ancient and beautiful buildings - and all of them were on their phones hmm

ilovesooty Wed 08-Jun-16 15:25:50

He doesn't need a phone. Banning them sounds sensible to me.
If you're going to take this view I'm sure the teachers would be only too pleased if you withdrew your son.

mrsbates070707 Wed 08-Jun-16 15:29:01

I don't think you are being unreasonable to want him to have his phone with him. However, did you know when you made payment that he was not allowed to have his phone with him?

ilovesooty Wed 08-Jun-16 15:29:06

And what's the local language? If it's Flemish fair enough but I'd expect a 12 year old to be able to ask for directions in French.

LittleLionMansMummy Wed 08-Jun-16 15:33:51

I think you should have been made aware of the unsupervised element, out of courtesy if nothing else. It wouldn't stop me from sending my ds but I would be a bit pissed off. Phones? I don't know. Ds is way too young yet, but we've always been more willing for dsd to go off if she has her phone with her. Nothing to do with terrorism, just nice to know she can contact someone if she gets in trouble. I don't know many12 year olds who are proficient enough in French to ask, and more importantly understand, directions. But it does sound like the teachers have risk assessed and implemented some mitigation...

Lilliana Wed 08-Jun-16 15:34:38

We allowed year 6 children to take phones on a trip to France. Nightmare. One child spent the £50 credit her parents had put on in less than 2 days. Homesickness was made worse by phoning parents at night instead of coming to the adults and we had a parent call us angry that her child had badly cut themselves and we did noting about it - said child had got a paper cut and hadn't actually told anyone she had done it. Never allowed phones on a trip again.
We now do the contact cards and discuss who would be an appropriate person to ask to call us. Parents have a mobile number for staff if they need to contact us/ their child.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 08-Jun-16 15:35:21


If there is a terrorist attack, phones are likely to not work anyway due to network overload.

They probably don't want to deal with the fallout of running up massive bills or lost or stolen phones.

Maybe they would rather the kids paid attention to their surroundings and the whole point of the trip rather than playing games and texting on their phones.

Wouldn't it be best if they learnt how to find help from a police officer, shop, library etc and ask for directions in the local language?

As long as they don't leave the retail park, which I assume will be the rule, there is little chance of them coming to harm or getting lost is there?

Onlyicanclean10 Wed 08-Jun-16 15:36:33

Op I know this will perhaps make you feel more nervous and may not help but I can explain the schools position and the procedure may have been out into place following our situation.

A few years ago the reason we as parents heard out dd had been involved In a fatal accident while on school trip was because the children on the other coachs who were I injured but traumatised were ohibing phoning their parents and texting friends.

The outcome was horrific as of course those parents whose dds weren't calling obviously realised they were among the injured or even dead.

We had no concrete info just rumours and confusion for hours.

Please listen to the school and remember the teachers will have mobiles and lots of safe guarding procedures in place.

Terrorist acts are incredibly rare and so was our dds accident. Of course you are nervous and anxious but 90% of trips pass off well and the kids have a wonderful time. smile

20thcenturybitch Wed 08-Jun-16 15:41:56

YABU about safety as they've got that covered. I don't think phones should be banned, just made clear that taken at own risk and put it on parents to ensure they send a suitable phone/ can't run up roaming charges/accept that inappropriate usage will result in confiscation - no arguments. However they are and I wouldn't question that in front of my child. Why shouldn't the rules apply to them?

The 'unsupervised element' of the trip is pretty standard for secondary schools and sounds well planned. They have to start getting a little independence and it doesn't sound like they're setting them loose on the Grand Place in Brussels or anywhere easy to get lost!

At the end of the day the staff running the trip will have had to risk assess like mad and are giving up a lot of their time, which isn't compulsory, for what may be fun but will be exhausting and unpaid outside school hours so if that's their rules then fair enough. Please don't moan at them/request special treatment for your little snowflake, just withdraw if you don't agree, I'm sure they will have a waiting list.

TheNaze73 Wed 08-Jun-16 16:34:19


PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 08-Jun-16 16:38:18

Standard procedure when I was at school. Glad it still is tbh. I've never heard of any instance of a child being snatched on a school trip or lost. Certainly no situation where a mobile would have been of benefit. So yes yabu and if you push for it I wouldn't be surprised if you find your money refunded and your son disappointed he's not allowed to go.

LIZS Wed 08-Jun-16 16:44:26

Sounds pretty normal. A teacher will probably be stationed at a central point in case of emergency and the children told to stay in groups. European retail centres are not usually vast.

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