Victorian public school students will be banned from using their phones from next year.

Students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers until the final bell, Education Minister James Merlino has announced. 

“This will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment,” he said in a statement.

“Half of all young people have experienced cyberbullying. By banning mobiles we can stop it at the school gate.”

In the case of an emergency, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school.

The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.

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The ban will start from term one in 2020.

It comes after McKinnon Secondary College banned phones from its grounds and reported students as being more focused during class and communicating more in the school yard.

In February 2018, ahead of the November state election, the Liberals announced a policy of banning students from using phones in classrooms.

At the time the Andrews government said bans were the decision of individual schools.

“I guess policy imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” former Liberal leader Matthew Guy tweeted on Tuesday night.

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AAP

KIIS 1011 Melbourne