The creation of an inclusive environment in which children can learn effectively is a priority for all schools. Improving acoustics can have a positive effect on learning outcomes and behavior – even outside of the classroom.
Acoustic Problems in Schools
Poor acoustics have a negative effect on children, which makes them more prone to disruptive behavior across all age groups. Ofsted monitor disruptive behavior and pupils’ readiness for learning.
Noise can impact on speech, listening, memory, reading, attention, and SEN children with poor language, impaired hearing and linguistic challenges.
75% of children with impaired hearing are in mainstream education; many school environments fail to meet government guidelines (BB93).
80% of pupils say ‘noise’ in school halls makes them feel uncomfortable and not want to eat in school. Staff complaints are rising through feeling agitated in dining halls.
Noise in shared spaces within schools is rarely down to behavioral issues. For example, in dining halls, you would typically hear general chatting and laughter when dining and queuing, supervisors managing behavior, and clattering of cutlery. However, research into dining experience has shown that children and staff struggle with noise in dining halls, and negative effects increase as volume builds.
Acoustic refurbishment can help to absorb sound by using materials that are usually porous to help reduce reflected sound and lower the reverberation time. The solution depends on the problem, space characteristics and size, but could include suspended ceiling rafts, acoustic baffles or panels on walls covered in different materials that absorb different amounts of sound energy.
Learning outcomes and behavior
For schools, Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) provides a building regulations framework for the acoustic design of new schools.
Noise has a negative effect on school-aged children’s speech and listening abilities, memory, reading, motivation, and attention, and is associated with poor performance and causes social and emotional dysfunction, making them more prone to disruptive behavior and leading to a reduced readiness to learn2.
Extensive evidence shows how poor classroom and dining acoustics has a negative effect upon all children, including those with hearing, speech, learning and language difficulties, in particular children diagnosed with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).
Seatable UK’s solution fits with the new Code of Practice in the Children’s and Families Act (2013) on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people to establish fully inclusive learning environment. It fits with the government’s School Food Plan (SFP), which focuses on improving the academic performance and health of children through diet and positive dining experience, and aligns with the 2015 Common Inspection Framework, which includes a judgement on personal development, behavior and welfare of pupils.
The Seatable way to positive Learning and Health outcomes
Free acoustic survey
Free use of acoustics report
Free lesson plan toolkit
Seatable offer a complete solution - consultation/survey/report/design/deliver/installation
Seatable UK has a comprehensive product range catering for interior reverberation control. We offer a free site survey, in which we will take measurements and discuss acoustic and aesthetic requirements. We then determine the best possible solution for you, and send a report detailing how we can improve the acoustics and the options we would recommend.
We focus on optimising the acoustics of the space as part of the school’s holistic strategy to improve health, learning and behaviour improvement outcomes. In addition, Seatable’s public health experts provide support to schools in conducting pupil surveys to inform an evidence-based case study. This can be provided to parents and Ofsted to illustrate the promotion of a healthy learning environment for all.
Seatable offers schools a free survey and installations can take place in holidays, weekends, evenings at the school’s convenience.