PUPILS are talking to each other again following the introduction of a ban on using their mobiles during the day at their school.

Instead of sitting around tapping away on their phones, they are being encouraged to play and communicate with each other in more traditional ways.

Staff say it has proved a popular move, not just with teachers and parents, but with some of the pupils too.

Bradon Forest School at Purton, near Swindon, used to allow pupils to bring in their mobiles and use them during break times.

They were also allowed to use them in lesson with the permission of teachers so they could use revision apps and do research.

But the policy changed a few weeks ago following a survey of teachers, parents and pupils.

Deputy head Julie Dickson said it came after staff and parents said they wanted a change and that the technology was interfering with the children’s everyday social interaction.

“There were concerns that the children had their phones in their hands almost permanently in social time.”

Results of the survey showed many – even the children – had the same worry.

The ban was brought in after Easter for the summer term, although not without a few hiccups.

“For the first week we were confiscating a few because people were forgetting,” said Mrs Dickson.

Now, while they are allowed to bring their mobiles into school, students are barred from using them apart from at the end of the day so they can tell their parents of any problems getting home.

They have to be switched off and kept in pupils’ bags. That applies to all years apart from year 11s who can use them in lessons with permission.

“There are some fantastic revision apps,” explained Mrs Dickson.

On a lunchtime walk around the school she talked to pupils about the rule and found the reaction was very positive.

“The children understood it was happening and they have been fabulous about it,” she said.

Some were disappointed, she said, but added that it was part of the school’s responsibility to educate children that there are a whole range of ways to communicate and that social interaction amounts to more than messaging.

“I think it has been very successful,” she said.

“As a school this is the right way. We’re really pleased that we have the support of the staff of the parents and actually a lot of the students. Before we did this you would see them all sitting at tables and they would all be on their phones.”

Earlier this week it was reported that Bradon Forest was one of many schools up and down the country that had responded to safety fears over Snapchat’s new Snap Map feature by advising pupils to hide their locations.

The app, which broadcasts people’s location to friends, triggered fears that it could leave children vulnerable to stalking and bullying because children will accept friends requests from strangers.

The NSPCC has also called on the Government to force social media firms to offer under 18s safe accounts with location settings turned off.