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Petition launched against rules over lunch and mobile phones at high school in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 12:23 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:24 09 September 2019

Copleston High School, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Copleston High School, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A petition has been launched over new arrangements over where students can eat and use mobile phones at break and lunch at Copleston High School in Ipswich.

Organisers claim students can now only eat in the main hall and canteen. They say that, in a school with 1,700 students, there is not enough space and many are being left to eat outside.

The petition, which has so far received more than 180 signatures, is also calling for a rethink over a decision not to allow mobile phone use indoors.

But the school says indoor spaces have been allocated for students to eat - and has also defended its decision only to allow phone use outside at breaks and lunchtimes as a "fair compromise".

The anonymous petition posted on the change.org site, headlined "We deserve to eat inside", says: "The only places indoors students can now eat lunch are the main hall and canteen, which can fit a year group at the maximum and even at this capacity it is still crowded and busy."

It says many students at the school are either eating outside or just not eating at all.

The petition adds: "Students deserve the right to eat and socialise indoors, as well as using mobile phones during break and lunch in year-specific rooms, as this is a way students socialise and play games within friend groups.

"Taking away the ability to use phones inside the building means students will simply be outside in the cold or rain just to use phones to either text parents or listen to music."

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One mother who has signed the petition, Elaine Abbott, left a comment saying: "My son is a Copleston student and I don't want him stuck outside, not having eaten. It's ridiculous."

Another, Leanne Stoker, commented: "My kids go there and it's not right to eat in the cold outside, or kids to not eat at all because they have nowhere to sit."

And Lindsay Lucas said: "There should be facilities within the school to cater for all students to eat their lunch and socialise. I certainly wouldn't be happy if my children had to be outside whatever the weather."

'We feel we have reached a fair compromise'

Principal Andrew Green said in a statement: "At the start of a new academic year, we have taken the opportunity to clarify to our students and parents where students can eat/drink and use their mobile phones.

"Our Mobile Phone Policy clearly states that students have the opportunity to use mobile phones outside of the building at either break or lunchtime.

"However, students are not permitted to use their mobile phones inside the building, and we operate a policy of 'on site, out of sight' when students are inside the building.

"We have not taken the strict measure of some schools of stating that mobile phones are not to be seen in school at all, and by allowing students to use them outside at break and lunchtime, feel we have reached a fair compromise.

"We have allocated areas within the building for our students to eat and drink at break and lunchtimes. These areas are designated areas with furniture set out so that our students can eat and drink in comfort and socialise with their friends.

"However, after much consideration, we have decided that students should not be eating in classrooms, because these are learning spaces and we want these environments to be comfortable and clean for the high quality learning we consistently deliver on a daily basis."

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