16 What are other schools doing?

Schools—state as well as private—decide their own policy on the use or not of wi-fi. Some have decided to stop using it.

• The Prebendal School in Chichester has removed its wi-fi network. The head said: “We listened to the parents’ views. We also did a lot of research. The authorities say it’s safe, but there have been no long-term studies to prove this.” 94

• Ballinderry Primary School in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, disconnected its wi-fi after considering the health concerns expressed by a parent. The principal said: “I wondered if the advantages of wi-fi outweighed the risks to the children and staff. I looked at evidence from both sides and have decided not to use this new technology in our school at present.” 95

• Ysgol Pantycelyn, a comprehensive in Carmarthenshire, has switched off its wi-fi network after parents expressed their concerns. The head teacher said, “the concerns of the parents were of greater importance than our need to have a wireless network.” 96

• Stowe School, the Buckinghamshire public school, removed part of its wi-fi network after a teacher became ill. His reaction to the network was so strong he could not teach. 97

A report prepared for Stowe School contains the following paragraph:

The consequence of such a precautionary approach is that wi-fi is inappropriate for infant, primary and most secondary schools or colleges. Use and exposure in secondary schools could depend on pupil age but, to avoid known health risks, a wired solution is highly preferable. Where pupils are under 18, schools and parents should see their duty of care as protecting children from avoidable radiation. 98

94 ‘Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks’, Times Online, 20.11.06
95 ‘Warning signal to schools using wi-fi’, Belfast Telegraph, 30.10.08LINK
96 ‘Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks’, Times Online, 20.11.06
97 ‘Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks’, Times Online, 20.11.06
98 Michael Bevington, Wi-fi in the classroom: health advice to schoolsLINK