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Leave your fidget spinners at home, schools tell pupils

Devices aimed at improving focus and concentration are becoming a distraction

17 May, 2017 — By Richard Osley

A MODERN-day spinning top, it is the handheld toy which comes with the claim that its mesmerising rotation can help calm the minds of children struggling to concentrate in class.

But “fidget spinners” – the simple gadget at the centre of a growing summer craze – are having the opposite effect, say headteachers in Camden.

Parents at some schools are now being asked to make sure their primary-aged children leave the toy – a three-pronged plastic device which spins around a ball bearing axis – at home.

Kate Frood, headteacher at Eleanor Palmer School in Raveley Street, Tufnell Park, said in a message to parents: “While these were invented with good intent – for children with concentration issues or other additional needs – they have simply become the next craze and are actually creating distractions and arguments in class and the playground, rather than helping. So we would ask that they don’t come into school, please.”

The fidget spinners cost around £2 and spin around a child’s thumb, while different shapes and colours have made them among popular among youngsters. High-end, collectable versions, meanwhile, are said to have swapped hands for £100 as the craze has developed across the world in recent weeks.

Ms Frood added: “We are aware of those children who need to move and fiddle more than others and make provision for them. More generally, children are not asked to sit still for ‘hours on end’ at our school, as the fidget spinner marketing would have you believe.”

A similar message has been sent home to parents at Rhyl School in Gospel Oak: “Children are not allowed to bring fidget spinners to school. There have been a number of children who have been upset as they have lost them at school and this has caused problems at playtimes as well as in class. If children do bring them in, they will be asked to give them to an adult who will keep them safe until they are returned.”

Schools across the country are taking similar action, while the debate continues as to how helpful they are for children with issues such attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fans of the product insist they have a soothing effect, while sceptics claim the benefits are of an anecdotal nature.

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