The importance of acoustics in school building design is well documented, with a recent study by The University of Salford revealing that classroom acoustics, amongst other factors, can affect pupil’s progress by as much as 25% a year*. The school dining room, however, is often overlooked, although acoustics here are equally important to pupils’ wellbeing and their ability to learn.
Why is school dining important?
Lunchtime is a valuable element of the school day, providing pupils with the opportunity to relax, recharge and socialize. It’s important that children return to the classroom feeling refreshed and ready to learn so that the teacher can make a prompt start to the lesson.
A noisy dining room, however, can be stressful which in turn may have a negative impact on pupils’ happiness and their behavior in afternoon lessons. Children are more likely to arrive at their lessons feeling agitated, tense and unhappy, making it difficult for them to concentrate. Good acoustics are therefore essential to creating a happy and healthy school environment.
Making the grade
School dining rooms are often large, open plan spaces that can become particularly noisy during busy lunch times; a problem that can be exacerbated by high ambient noise levels and reflective surfaces that reverberate noise around the room. The Building Bulletin 93 (BB93), which provides a regulatory framework for the acoustic design of new schools, outlines steps that can be taken to mitigate these factors and thus reduce noise in all areas of a school.
Acoustic panels, which can be used on walls and ceilings, are one of the most effective and affordable ways of reducing reverberation in the dining room. In addition to reducing noise levels, panels can add to the overall ambiance of the area as they can be created in various shapes and colours and may even be screen-printed with attractive graphics.
If you’re looking to improve your school dining room, you could take advantage of a free acoustic assessment courtesy of Seatable. Our experts will survey your space and provide a report, prepared by a qualified acoustician, showing the existing reverberation time and advice on how to improve acoustics. Contact us on 01484 861982 to find out more.