GORSE Academies Trust won't change mobile phone confiscation policy at Farnley Academy and other Leeds schools despite 2,400 signature petition

The GORSE Academies Trust said it has no plans to change its mobile phone policy after a petition calling for it to be revised gathered more than 2,400 signatures amid fears for students' safety.

By Mark Lavery
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:14 pm

The petition calling for a change in the trust's 48-hour mobile phone confiscation policy was launched after a report of a serious sexual assault on a girl near Farnley Academy, which turned out to be false.

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Report of serious sexual assault on girl in west Leeds found to be false

The petition states: "Despite reports of a sexual assault occurring close to school grounds being unfounded, I think it has highlighted the risks of students not having access to their phones after the school day has ended.

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Farnley Academy

"I believe GORSE Academies Trust should reconsider their unnecessary mobile phone rules.

"A confiscated phone should be returned at the end of the school day, not a 48hr confiscation.

"The ban on using mobile phones on the public footpath leading up to the school gates of Farnley Academy needs to be removed.

"The removal of a child's mobile phone after the school day has ended is a safeguarding issue.

"We agree that a phone confiscation within school hours is sufficient and the mobile phone policy needs revising.

"Parents of pupils within the GORSE Academies Trust want to be reassured their children have access to contact them or a responsible adult in case of an emergency as soon as their school day is over and we believe that it is in our child's best interest that the mobile phone confiscation rule within the positive discipline policy is revised."

A spokesperson for the The GORSE Academies Trust, said: “Our behaviour policy provides clear instructions to students and their families on our expectations around the use of mobile phones.

"It is extremely rare for a phone to be confiscated but when it does happen during the school day, parents are made aware.

"We do not believe that a change in our rules surrounding mobile phones is required at this time but we keep all policies under constant review, including this one.”

Angela Hughes wrote on the petition: "This policy needs to be changed. Completely understand & agree that there needs to be consequences if the rule is breached but a different sanction that doesn’t compromise safety needs to be implemented."

Christine Wood wrote: "I feel mobile phones are a tool for parents and children to be /and keep safe. Therefore the rules should be revised and updated."

Joanne Vyse wrote: "Safe guarding issues, students must have their property returned to them as the leave the school grounds."

Susan Biggs wrote: "Out of school, the children should be able to use them, especially for safety reasons."

The GORSE Academies Trust also runs Boston Spa Academy, Bruntcliffe Academy, Morley Newlands Academy, The Morley Academy and The Ruth Gorse Academy

Police said earler this week that a report of a serious sexual assault on a girl in west Leeds has now been found to be false.

Detectives from West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team have concluded their investigation after carrying out extensive enquiries into the report of an incident near to Farnley Academy on Wednesday, January 5.

Senior Investigating Officer, Temporary Detective Superintendent Tony Nicholson said: “We always take any reports of such incidents very seriously and carry out extensive enquiries to establish the full circumstances.

“We fully appreciate the understandable concern that this report will have caused in the local community and we recognise the need to reassure people that we have now confirmed categorically that this was a false report."

He added: “We are continuing to ensure the child involved and her family receive appropriate support and we would ask that people consider her welfare first and foremost in any view they may have on this matter.”

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