Classrooms are well-known for getting noisy when children, and teacher alike, are deep in conversation and learning. However, classroom noise can soon become an issue if outdoor sounds are interfering in internal discussion or acoustic reverberations are amplifying student noise.
These classroom acoustic issues can be really distracting and reduce student’s concentration, learning, and productivity.
It can also cause school staff untold stress in trying to timetable that English exam when Science are doing noisy experiments next door. Or the music room is right next to individual learning rooms just as the drums are being pulled out for use.
All of these issues can be solved with simple acoustic changes such as sound absorption panels and soundproofing in between rooms.
What you might not have known is that these solutions are actually specified in the Department for Education’s Building Bulletin 93. This document provides the standard for school noise levels and what can be done through acoustic design solutions.
Classroom acoustics are crucial to learning and teaching to make sure education can continue with minimal distraction, distortion and sound issues.
In this blog we will go over 6 key things you need to know about classroom acoustics!
1. Different rooms have different acoustic issues
Different rooms have different acoustic issues and therefore need different acoustic design to fix those problems. For example, open plan spaces like your dining hall or sports hall can suffer from repetitive reverberations of noise. This means noise just bounces around the room, making it distracting and difficult to hear in these spaces. For an open-plan space, sound absorption panels are best as they stop reverberations in its tracks.
For rooms partitioned by thin walls or even those classrooms with retractable wall partitions, soundproofing panels block transmission of chatter from travelling between the rooms. These panels are also perfect for rooms next to busy corridors, stairwells and entrance halls!
2. Classroom acoustics have to provide for everyone
Head Teachers, school Governors, or architects involved in the re-design or refurbishment of a school have to provide acoustic levels that meet BB93 for all users of the classrooms or school buildings. This includes those with hearing impairments or special needs, which we know makes them even more sensitive to the acoustic environment than others.
Any provision of acoustic design used has to be provided in a way that will benefit everyone. According to The Equality Act 2010, there is a duty for all schools to implement accessibility for users of the school, especially if that improves the physical environment in order to improve the extent to which those pupils can access and take advantage of the school facilities and education.
In order to fulfil that requirement, the BB93 stresses the need for school bodies to anticipate the needs of current and future children who have special needs or auditory impairments.
Acoustic panels can be that solution, and with them being fitted on any wall easily as well as be moved about even after that, the future of your school acoustics can be easily managed.
3. Classroom acoustics can help or hinder pupil concentration
External and internal classroom noises are known by all to distract pupils. There is nothing worse to hinder the flow of children’s work than a group of people walking down the corridor outside, laughing and giggling.
In today’s educational environment, where schools are prone to being underfunded and overcrowded, more children in a class can also mean noise levels sky-rocket inside the classroom too.
A solution to both these issues is acoustic panels and can vastly improve the ability for pupils to concentrate and truly get the most out of a lesson.
4. Noisy classrooms can impact educational outcomes
Soundproofing and reverberation blocking panels have the ability to improve educational outcomes as concentration can be improved, but even better, teachers can be heard clearly.
The BB93 states that the main objectives for classroom acoustics are that all speech, either between or among teacher and pupil, should be heard clearly. This is measured by the speech transmission index (STI) and has to meet certain standards in order to be approved.
The benefits of making sure your classroom acoustics meet – or better this level – contains the opportunity for your pupils to reach their potential and improve their educational outcomes.
5. Acoustic panels can be visually appealing
You may have seen some traditional sound proofing panels which are grey and blocky. They can be ghastly to look at, especially when they take up the whole wall.
At Sound Zero, we pride ourselves on our mission of providing panels that combine attractive design with effective acoustic solutions.
We know in schools that displays are one of the key ways classrooms are decorated. That’s why visually appealing acoustic panels can be the perfect way to add to the look of a classroom.
Moreover, if you don’t want the panel to be the design piece but the children’s work, then cork acoustic panels could be the solution for you. These panels work well as a traditional display wall and can be decorated with children’s art and essays to provide a visually appealing wall that also manages noise in the classroom.
Did you know… sound absorption panels can be installed on the ceiling of open-plan spaces, like this office canteen, to save space whilst also reducing acoustic reverberation.
6. Acoustic panels come in all different shapes, sizes, and materials
Whatever type of room you are struggling with noise levels in, from a dining room to a sports hall, acoustic panels come in all different shapes and sizes. Customising your acoustic solution to your requirement is key for providing effective acoustic design.
Acoustic panels also come in so many types of materials; you can even theme your panels to your room. All colours and textures are an option now because the technology in the sound proofing and panelling industry is now so advanced.
Conclusion: unique acoustic panels for schools
Acoustic panels for schools can come in a variety of bespoke options that fit the creative needs of the school and provide an effective solution to noise reverberation and distraction. Regardless of whether you want bright and colourful panels to create better classroom acoustics or need patterns, it is easy to create the exact panels you need.
Our team is available to discuss your school acoustics needs to ensure you select the right product from our line. We have a range of products that include moss walls, cork panels, insulation foam, acoustic foam, and wall panel pro. All of these acoustic panel options can be completely customised to your colour, size, fabric, and other product requests.
Whether you need maximum noise reduction or slight adjustments to your classroom acoustics, we can help. We have helped countless schools and organisations improve their school acoustics over the years. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to go over our unique acoustic panels for schools that can help your students achieve more and concentrate better!