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S.C.H.O.O.L D.I.S.C.O!

Spelling Out How To Have The Best School Disco

You may be a teacher or a member of a P.T.A (Parents Teacher Association) and you might be looking for a way to reward children, celebrate Christmas or raise funds. One way to do this is to hold a School Disco. I have a lot of experience as a School DJ and am a regular DJ at Infant, Primary and Junior Schools in Portsmouth, Southsea, Havant, Waterlooville, Fareham and Gosport and can hopefully give you some tips to make your School Disco a success!

If you aim to raise funds for the school, you can charge a ticket price for the children to attend the Disco. Look at the approximate numbers who could be attending, then look at the price of the DJ and calculate how much per child will give you a profit. This is likely to be a couple of pounds each.

Then consider having snacks, foods or sweets. The cost of these can be included in the ticket price or you can sell them as a way of generating more profit. One thing to bear in mind is how/where you are going to feed the children. If your food is in a different room to the DJ, you will find that the ‘dancefloor’ can be quite empty at times. Food wins all the time! A good option is to have a break for the children to eat. This also gives them a breather, so they can carry on dancing.

Another thing children like to buy are Glow Sticks. These are sold for pennies and the boys and girls like to build up long lengths of them.

This leads nicely to another aspect of the Disco – Darkness! If the children are younger (Years R to 2) I would recommend dimming the hall lights, so the Disco lights can be seen, but not total darkness. Once the children are older, a dark hall gives them the feeling of being at a proper Disco. But there is something important to consider – Can you still see what the children are doing?

Here is a very important point to bear in mind when holding a School Disco…

When children meet up, they behave the same way as they do in a playground. So they will run, chase, gather in groups and even fight! So there must be enough adults, teachers or parents, to oversee the children and make sure they are safe. At my Discos, I will always give the children some guidelines which include ‘No Running’ and ’No Sliding’. I do this in a humorous way, so they take notice.

If the school has a very wide age range from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, where possible, it is best to have a separate Disco for each age group. This is because younger children like games in their Discos, Years 3 & 4 are slightly more grown up, but still like encouragement, whereas Years 5 & 6 like a proper, no nonsense Disco.

When you are organising your School Disco, look at how long it will be? Obviously, outside factors come into this, such as keeping the school open out of hours and staffing. Personally, I would recommend between One and One and a half hours. This gives enough time to have different aspects of a Disco, such as Games, Competitions and Singalongs. Two hour Discos without a break in the middle are a very long time for children.

It probably should go without saying, but School Discos are LOUD! Just the effect of putting over one hundred children into a hall is going to raise the noise levels. And then they need to hear the music and the DJ! Some children are sensitive to noise. If this is the case, they can still enjoy the Disco by having ear defenders or ear plugs.

The most important part of a School Disco is the music. It should be right for the different ages of children to dance to. An interesting thing is that each school is different, no two schools are the same. So while one group of children will like a certain type of song, another group won’t. You can’t just turn up and press play! In my Discos I am always looking to have as many children involved and so will try different songs and chop and change at the last minute to keep them dancing.

Not only should the music be right, but the lyrics and song content must be appropriate. There is a problem with today’s chart music – out of the Top 40 songs, probably 25 have explicit content or inappropriate lyrics. Of course, these songs are played on radio stations, each song is cleaned before broadcast. But a lot of the time, it is not possible to buy a child friendly edit. That is why I do not stream songs live. I always check every song and if there is unsuitable content, I will edit it myself or not play it at all. This includes songs from ‘Now’ albums, because although they advertise clean versions, it is quite obvious which words have been edited!

The final part of organising a School Disco, is who to book?

There are hundreds of DJs in the Hampshire area. Most are adult DJs and while they say that they will do a School Disco, they do not have the experience of children and may not be careful with the lyrics. So, it’s best to book a children’s DJ. Choose one who knows how to keep the children involved. Choose one who shows the children the actions to Action Songs. Choose one who does everything (and I do mean everything) to play songs with appropriate/clean content. If they say that they play ‘Now’ songs, it is not enough! Choose one who has PAT Test Certificates for his electrical equipment and Public Liability Insurance (you’d be surprised at how many DJs don’t have these). If you can, choose somebody who is highly recommended. If you are a teacher, ask which schools they have done and then contact those schools for a review.

I think what I’m saying is… Book Someone Like Me!