Portobello High School bells being silenced and cut down to help children ‘feel calm’

Portobello High School is experimenting with having fewer school bells ring throughout the day to help young people ‘feel calm and safe’ in their learning environment after hearing of previous success at other schools.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 7:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 7:54 pm

Bells will continue to ring at the start of the day, end of interval and lunch time.

However, other bells, such as those which usually ring at the end of classes, have been stopped.

Ruth McKay, Head Teacher at Portobello High School, has said that the measure has been put in place to help make school feel like a calm and safe place for young people.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Portobello High School is experimenting with having fewer school bells ring throughout the day to help young people ‘feel calm and safe.'

She said: “Within our continued focus on wellbeing and inclusion as a result of the pandemic, we are always on the lookout for ideas which help to make school feel calm and safe for all our young people.

"Two of our teaching staff had previous experience of working in schools where there were no bells and suggested this was worth trying.”

Read More

Read More
Pylons row amid fears work could disturb ancient East Lothian battle site and Ou...

McKay added: “For the time being, we have kept the bell at the start of the day and the end of interval and lunchtime but other bells have been stopped. Classes are still dismissed at the same times, but there is a natural variation of a few seconds or so and this is leading to calmer transitions from one class to another.

"For classes with a double period, there is also the benefit that the flow of learning is not interrupted and the move has been especially popular with those young people who are particularly sensitive to noise.”

The school’s move to cut down bells follows many education spaces across the city.

Alexa Pope, Head Teacher at Juniper Green Primary School said: “Our school’s been bell free for well over a year now and it’s definitely been one of the positive impacts of Covid.

“Due to the number of start and finish times along with the three different playtimes and lunchtimes we could not realistically use the bell to signify these times! The positive impact is noticeable and that’s why we’ve decided as a school to go bell free.

“The school is calm, our noise sensitive learners don’t have to worry about the loud bell and best of all everyone is taking responsibility for running to time throughout the day – learners included!”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.