TEACHERS will be able to confiscate mobile phones and read students’ text messages under new Government guidelines.

According to the new Education Bill, teachers will be able to look through pupils’ phones to prevent cyber bullying.

But John Rimmer, president elect of teachers’ union NASUWT, has warned that the move will put school staff at risk.

“These new sanctions are ill-advised and will put teachers at risk,” he said.

“A male member of staff searching a female student would also put staff at risk, and reading text messages could be an infringement of civil liberties.

“Searching pupils and reading texts leaves teachers hostage to fortune.”

Labour Clr Colin Froggatt also believes that reading texts may be inappropriate.

He said: “At what point is it invading privacy?

“When it becomes intrusive it could border on stop and search.

“The protection of a child is paramount”

Some schools in Warrington are attempting to pre-empt any difficulties by banning mobile phones.

Great Sankey High School has a warning on its website that phones are not allowed.

Mr Rimmer is also concerned about other measures in the bill, such as allowing teachers to give after school detentions without notifying parents.

Previously schools were required to give 24 hours notice.

He said: “The first time something happens to a child, or if one is knocked down on the way home, it will cause potential problems for schools.

“This bill is about attracting positive spin not dealing with the problems.”

Other changes will see teachers given the right to anonymity if they are accused by pupils to protect them from false accusations.

Pinaki Ghoshal, assistant director of children and young people’s services at the council, said he is confident teachers will adapt to the changes.

He said: “We are aware of the recommendations in the Education Bill and are confident that if this bill becomes law that Warrington schools will continue to act responsibly to ensure that behaviour continues to be excellent in our schools.”