A primary school in Middlesbrough has banned parents from using their mobile phones at the school gates, urging them to greet their child instead.

St Joseph’s RC Primary is asking parents and carers to put away their mobiles after noticing that some adults are engrossed by screens rather than their children during the school run.

The school is encouraging parents to stick to the rule by putting up signs that read: ‘Greet your child with a smile, not a mobile.’

St Joseph’s headteacher, Liz King, said the aim of the campaign is to remind parents to talk to their little ones at the end of the day.

Speaking to the Teesside Gazette about the signs, she said: “We are always looking at ways to engage parents.

“We’ve got them at each entrance and at the foundation entrance.

“They are simple, but give a really important message.

“We are trying to develop our speaking and listening, and we thought it was a really simple way to get the message across.

So far the signs have had a mixed response. While some parents welcome the initiative, others have claimed that it’s an unwanted intrusion into family life.

Parent Danielle Parker told the Gazette: “I think they need to be up because everyone picks their kids up on their phones. I’d like to think they’d make a difference.”

On the other hand, dad Andy Dawson, writing for the Guardian, called the move ‘borderline fascism’.

“For crying out loud,” he wrote, “let us enjoy our final few moments of huffing on the cyber-crackpipe that is the internet before we scoop up our offspring and resume our role as their downtrodden slaves and/or unpaid entertainment officers right through until bedtime.”


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