Musical Class Change Improves Student Routines at Djanogly City Academy
A musical public address and class change system is being used in an innovative way by a Nottingham-based school as part of a wider approach to student routine, behaviour and safety.
Like many schools, Djanogly City Academy informed staff and students when it was time for class change or lunch breaks by using the fire alarm system. However fire alarms are very limited in the information that can be conveyed. James Amps, Director of Operations for Djanogly Learning Trust commented, “If the fire alarm goes off, everybody knows they must leave the building. However in this day and age, we needed a more flexible system that would also enable us to communicate quickly and clearly to all staff and students what to do should a situation arise that required a lockdown protocol rather than evacuation. Such a system would also help us develop a clearly defined structure to the school day but in a friendly, calm manner. This would encourage discipline in the students in a stress-free way and lead to a better learning environment for both the staff and the students.”
Djanogly City Academy selected the Harmonys system developed by Bodet which has up to 18 pre-installed bells sounds but can also store up to 30 MP3 music files. Amps added, “When it’s time to change classes, we play classical music for 4 minutes. It’s a very calm way to announce class changeover. All the students know they need to close their lesson packets, move to the next class and start the lesson before the music stops. It really focuses the students so they move swiftly around the corridors following our one way system. Class changes are smooth and efficient and the corridors are empty by the time the music stops. The sense of urgency it instils has dramatically improved punctuality and avoids staff/student confrontation in the corridors, which has resulted in much better behaviour throughout the school.”
The versatility of the system has supported the introduction of triple-split lunch times. Pre-recorded tailored announcements advise which group of students are due to go to the canteen at each sitting. It means smaller lunch groups which has reduced pressure for both staff and students. Lunchtimes are now easier to staff, provide more space for students and separating year groups has made some feel special and led to better atmospheres and further improvement in behaviour.
Verbal broadcasts are also made through external speakers at the start of school. Staggered announcements that the school gates are about to close in ten, five and two minutes has had a very positive reaction from parents as well as students. It encourages everybody to be on time and punctuality has seen a marked improvement.
Amps concluded, “Now the Harmonys system has bedded in, it means we can broadcast essential information in a clear, friendly manner so everybody knows exactly what is expected of them. If a student steps outside the boundaries, it’s now much easier to address the issue in a non-confrontational manner. Positively received by the students, Harmonys has established a consistent routine throughout the school, improved punctuality and will help us maintain a strong position nationally for progress.”