The head teacher of a school in Essex has defended the decision to force children to listen to classical music during their lunchtime, describing it as a “win-win” situation.
Lee Chapel Primary school in Basildon is playing classical music in their dining hall during lunchtime in a bid to reduce talking among pupils and get them out onto the playground faster.
Sue Jackson said the children “absolutely loved” the music.
She told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “At Lee Chapel we don’t have unruly pupils – they are absolutely fabulous pupils – what we were trying to do is actually make sure that they are having a longer lunch break.
“One of the things that was happening before was that children were talking quite a lot and it meant that they were in the dining hall longer than they should have been therefore reducing how much time they had to play.
“In order to do something about that, we introduced playing some lovely music – this week it is Vivaldi – and they have absolutely loved it.”
Ms Jackson said that children now used their “quiet voices” while the music was playing, and learn about the composer from a PowerPoint in the room.
“It has meant that they are using quiet voices so that they are not talking above the music,” she said.
“We are talking about children who are four or five so they are using small voices and listening to the music.
“We have a PowerPoint presentation so it is pictures of this lovely Italian composer up and the children have talking about his funny hair and funny costume but they have actually got out to playtime quicker.”
She added that children won house points for telling teachers interesting facts about the composers the next morning.
Ms Jackson dismissed any criticism, saying that parents had been “incredibly supportive”.
“When you talk about parents, there are 982 children at the school and the parents at Lee Chapel are incredibly supportive of the school,” she said. “Overwhelmingly we have their support in any initiative that makes life better for the children.
“What has been reported in the press has been one parent’s view who is talking as if she is representing 982 parents. I am sorry that is not the case.”