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LSBU research on school acoustics highlighted by Parliamentary and Scientific Committee

Professor Bridget Shield from LSBU's Acoustics Department has led a research project examining the impact of poor acoustics in schools on both pupils and teachers
15 June 2015

London South Bank University (LSBU) research into the effects of classroom noise on teaching and learning has been profiled by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in its Science in Parliament journal.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee is a major focus for scientific and technological issues, and links MPs and Peers to scientific bodies, science-based industry and the academic world.

The current journal outlines research by Professor Bridget Shield, Professor (Emerita) of Acoustics, examined the effect of noise and acoustic design in primary and secondary schools in England. Noise impacts on pupils' capacity to hear and understand their teachers, and on teachers' ability to speak easily without forcing their voices, which can lead to vocal damage over time. Professor Shield's research provided evidence to link noise and poor acoustics with lower Standardised Assessment Test scores, for instance in urban schools with high levels of background noise from road traffic or police sirens. The research also made recommendations as to what is needed to provide a better acoustic environment in a school context.

In an interview in Science in Parliament, Professor Shield highlights how recently updated government regulations are helping to improve the standard of acoustic design in schools. The regulations, updated to reflect the current understanding of school acoustic design, mean that the majority of new school buildings now provide appropriate acoustic conditions for pupils and teachers. With the regulations also now applying to the refurbishment of older schools, it is hoped that all schools will soon provide a satisfactory acoustic environment for both pupils and teachers.