Spain’s ban on school mobile phones

Spanish government issues rules on school mobile phones

A classroom student using a mobile phone. Credit: Ground Picture/

Could the era of mobile phones in Spanish classrooms finally be coming to an end?

In a significant policy shift, the State School Council in Spain has just given the green light to a proposal aiming to ban and limit mobile phone use in educational settings.

This decision was reached unanimously in a recent meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Education Minister Pilar Alegria.

The council’s recommendations are aimed at preschools, primary schools, and institutes for ESO students.

New restrictions on mobile use

The Council’s proposal outlines a blanket prohibition of mobile phone use in preschools and primary schools.

In secondary education institutions, or ‘institutes’, where ESO students study, the regulations are slightly less stringent. During school hours, including breaks and rest periods, students are advised to keep their devices switched off.

However, this does not extend to class time reserved for educational purposes, leaving room for each school to set its own rules on phone use.

The Council’s statement clarifies, ‘Students do not need to bring mobile phones to the educational centre, except in those cases in which they are authorized for individual or specific reasons related to health or personal or family circumstances.’

Education enhancement

This move is part of a broader school reinforcement plan by the government, projected to benefit approximately 4.7 million primary and secondary students.

The plan includes strategies like reducing classroom sizes, splitting classes, conducting extracurricular activities within school hours, enhancing maths teacher training, and hiring additional staff.

These initiatives follow the concerning results of the latest PISA report, which revealed significant drops in Spanish students’ mathematics and reading abilities, attributed partly to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact.

Regional responses to the ban

Before the national proposal’s formalisation on December 13, several regions had already taken steps to restrict mobile phone usage. Madrid, Galicia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, and Aragon imposed bans, joined by Andalucia and Murcia. Others like the Canary Islands and Catalonia expressed intentions to follow suit shortly.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.