GAVIN Williamson has called for mobile phones to be banned in classrooms as he orders a clampdown on unruly pupils.
The Education Secretary warned that lockdown and home schooling had left many children lacking discipline and order.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…
And the out-of- control behaviour was turning many school playgrounds into a jungle, he claimed.
Backing heads who banished mobiles, he said: behaviour and discipline were the cornerstone of any successful school.
He added: “I will always support schools taking action to tackle the scourge of ever-present mobile phones.
“I know the positive impact it will have on students’ wellbeing and attainment.”
Mr Williamson, a former chief whip who used to keep a tarantula in his desk to keep unruly MPs in order, is worried mobiles are a breeding ground for cyber bullying.
Too many youngsters are being hounded online or unfairly ranked on their appearance by anonymous Instagram accounts, he said.
His intervention comes as the Department for Education announced a £10million bad behaviour crackdown.
The cash is creating a behaviour hub in which 22 leading heads mentor struggling schools blighted by unruly behaviour.
A consultation on how schools can ban mobiles from classrooms is being launched later this year.
The NASUWT teachers’ union backed the crackdown, saying: “Teachers cannot teach and pupils cannot learn without good order and discipline.”